The power of the smile (even under the mask)“If life doesn’t smile, tickle it …” – Giulia Carcasi
The value of a smile is invaluable and now you will think that it will not be very easy to show others our smile under the masks; masks that we have had to wear for quite some time because of Covid-19. I tell you that this is not the case, our smile will feel great … and we must not forget to do it for a series of benefits that can be drawn from it and because a sincere smile is not seen only through the lips.
What is a smile? Definition and meaning
The smile is a primary and innate gesture, made possible by the facial muscles and among the first gestures that the infant makes to relate to the reference figures ; in fact, with development, we come to understand its unique and universal purpose, which is that of communication.
The act of smiling in itself represents a disposition to contact the other and to the relationship with the other and the behavior of a person influences and is influenced by the behavior of others; therefore generates, in those who receive it, a behavioral response : this is why the smile has the characteristic of being “contagious” and can dampen conflicts if present in a relationship.
The smile has different meanings:
First of all there is the one related to the relational aspect, through which closeness, openness and warmth can be expressed .
Another aspect may be that relating to the simple social ritual, the simple formal courtesy characterized by distance and, if necessary, also by opportunism and strategy to get what you want.
The relationship message indicating closeness reaches the interlocutor in full, only if the smile does not show elements of inconsistency with the multiple and simultaneous non-verbal messages of other parts of the body . If you smile when you really don’t want to, your face will likely be a little distorted by facial tensions, facial expressions much more difficult to falsify.
In addition, the smile can also be influenced by the culture of belonging, in particular it would seem that the raw action is inherited, and then refined with the social experience. A person belonging to an expansive culture could consider the smile of another belonging to a reserved culture to be non-sincere, when in reality it is only a mere form of expression guided by the cultural context of belonging.
How many types of smile are there?
According to a study conducted by the University of Barkeley in California, we are able to implement different types of smile, depending on the facial muscles involved . In particular, it has identified six types, associated with particular situations and with a certain meaning.
SMILE SMILE: characterized by parted lips, slightly pulled on one side, which gives the smile an asymmetrical appearance.
CLOSED MOUTH SMILE: it is the most common and most used smile and involves all the facial muscles; there is the lifting of the cheeks and the curving of the lips. Not being an open smile, it could express mixed feelings, ranging from friendliness to repressed anger.
SMILE OF ENCOURAGEMENT: it is a smile just mentioned and communicates reassurance and inclusion.
FALSE SMILE: it is a fast and hasty mechanical movement of the lips, which are pulled up to show the teeth.
ASYMMETRICAL SMILE: it is the most ambiguous smile similar to a grimace with different meanings depending on the situation and is characterized by lips pulled up on one side and down on the other.
GENUINE SMILE OR DUCHENNE: smile par excellence that involves every facial muscle is short and symmetrical. Its name derives from the neurologist Guillaume Duchenne, who first discovered a particular childhood muscular dystrophy gene, analyzed and described with this characteristic the genuine smile.
Each type of smile is linked to a certain mood , but a sincere smile is the only one that manages to communicate the best of us, with which we send a positive image of ourselves outside and can be a real cure-all for our well-being.
What are the benefits of a smile?
(Also under the mask)
Here are some of the benefits of smiling that affect our psychophysical state:
IMPROVE THE MOOD : smiling helps to ease a moment of tension, anxiety and depression and is useful to lighten a bad day. If you have a bad day, try to smile, it has been shown to help increase positive thoughts.
LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE : laughing and smiling are excellent strategies for lowering blood pressure; in fact there is at the beginning an increase in heart rate, followed by a muscle slowdown.
RELIEVES STRESS : The smile helps in the management of stressful situations, positively influences the neural connection, inducing the release of well-being neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin.
IMPROVE RELATIONSHIPS : a smile in the workplace and with the people around us can transmit trust and professionalism; in fact, a smiling face is associated with an availability and openness to the other.
STRENGTHENS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM : smiling can act as an antidepressant and pain reliever. Some studies have shown that the use of clowns in therapy decreases the use of analgesics by about 20% and the length of hospital stays of children by 50%.
CONTACT GOOD MOOD : smiling produces the release of endorphins, which help us to put aside sadness and melancholy and induce us to be in a good mood.
EXTENDS LIFE : According to a study published in Psychological Science, smiles and positive emotions are associated with greater quality and life span.
The smile therefore certainly represents our best business card , makes us more attractive, increasing our positive perception and infecting the people around us, increases self-confidence and facilitates making new friends, relieves tension, beyond to be an excellent gymnastics for the face!
When you leave home, don’t forget to wear the most beautiful and important accessory there is: Your smile … even under the mask! 😉