What Your Smild Reveals About You
A smile can have a hidden meaning for a crafty person. "There is a smile called the 'Duping' smile or 'Dupper's Delight' which is typically a little smile that comes across the face when a liar or deal-maker or cheating-winner thinks they have duped someone," explains Patti Wood, MA, a body language expert based in Atlanta. Another tool to decipher a gloating smile is that the smile may be a mismatch for the other person or people you are with so they feel left out and less than, she says. Learn more about how a fake smile can be hurtful.
You're hiding how you really feel
Smiles are often used to cover up another emotion. "For example, someone might start to frown then cover this with a smile," says Jonathan Gratch, who is based at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies in Playa Vista, California, where he is the director for virtual human research "The nature of a smile also communicates subtle information about its authenticity." Another telltale sign is if a smile that starts and ends too quickly is seen as not genuine, he says.
"Smile controls" are a set of facial muscles that can be used to regulate the smile expression, says Gratch. "These include things like pressing your lips together or activating the muscles that pull down on the corners of the mouth. These muscles are under voluntary control," he affirms.
You're under pressure
Sometimes under pressure, we react in ways that are incongruent with the situation at hand. "A common example of this is laughing when you receive bad news, freezing when you are in danger, or making jokes when you are uncomfortable," says Shadeen Francis, a family and marriage therapist in Philadelphia. "These incongruous responses are just a few of the brain's many ways of managing overwhelming emotional circumstances. An unexplainable smile may also be a signal of distress, especially when others are around." Some studies, Francis says, have demonstrated that when under intense social distress, smiling was more common than in less alarming or in nonsocial situations.
You want to feel happy
Smiling offers some surprising health benefits, but did you know it can be a blues buster? Yes, we smile when things are going well, but it turns out you can use a smile cheer yourself up, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers recorded volunteers moods as they tricked them into smiling, and the bigger the smile, the better the volunteers felt.
You're letting off stress
Smiling reduces stress and can improve your outlook. Stress levels were especially low in those with genuine smiles. Even those who forced a smile during an unpleasant task seemed to have lower stress levels, according to a Web MD article.
You're full of joy
Wood describes a 'laughing smile' as when the mouth is open upper and lower teeth showing. This comfortable and inviting face exudes joy and sincerity. "The head is usually thrown back," adds Wood. Here are some reasons that smiling improves your health.
The last one may be the best one. Check out the complete article from Reader's Digest here.