A smile is… To roughly quote Herman Melville , “a smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguity.” Smiles are ambiguous because they take on multiple looks and appear in a bewildering array of contexts thus making it futile or just plain silly to attempt to nail what a smile is down to just one thing.
There is no clear data on which countries smile the most but the evidence suggests that people from countries in East Asia (Japan) and Southeast Asia (Thailand, Philippines) on an average smile the most; residents of Northern European countries (Scandinavia) and the old Eastern Block (Russia, Poland) are thought to smile the least.
Marianne LaFrance, a Professor of Psychology at Yale University, once explained to me that people should smile because it has multiple psychological and social effects like opening up social connections, reducing interpersonal conflict, softening embarrassing situations, and enhancing first impressions.
Smiling is a serious business as it impacts the quantity and quality of one’s interpersonal relationships that are themselves crucial to our well-being.
Let us end with some cool facts about smiling:
. Bereaved spouses who showed smiles while talking about their loved one shortly after his or her death were better off at both six months and twelve months later than those who did not show some smiling immediately following their loss; Did you now babies smile in the womb?; Women who on average smile more than men have larger smile muscles (zygomaticus major) than men.
Wouldn’t you like upping the likelihood of positive results both personally and professionally? Wouldn’t you smile to increase the likelihood of having a more satisfying private life, and maybe even a longer one?