Smiles are Contagious

Smile, you’re on camera. Well, not really, but just pretend like you are, because the simple act of smiling can do you and everyone around you a lot of good.

Smiles that engage your eye and mouth muscles (called Duchenne smiles) have the most positive impact on your outlook and physical health. These types of smiles can help ease tension, relieve anxiety, lower your heart rate, and actually make you feel happy.

And research shows that even fake smiles can improve mood by tapping into the positive memories associated with the particular facial muscular action. So, the next time your in-laws ask you about your shiny, new mortgage, remember to smile; there’s a chance your subconscious mind will whisk you off to Disneyland.

But can smiles really be contagious? Growing evidence shows that facial mimicry is a natural human instinct that allows us to empathize with the feelings of others. If you’re talking with a friend that looks sad, you may mirror that facial expression subconsciously in order to better recognize or understand that feeling. A smile can have the same effect.

Use Destress Monday as an opportunity to send a smile to everyone in your social network. Our adorable “Smiles are Contagious” GIF will put a grin on even the sourest of faces.