Happiness is knowing that if you smile, the whole world smiles with you

Happiness is knowing that if you smile, the whole world smiles with you

We're pleased, today, to share with you another great happiness relevant article from Positive Psychology News Daily...

by Bridgette Grenville-Cleave

I don’t know what it is about March but for me it’s such an optimistic month. Spring is well and truly here, the buds are appearing, daffodils blooming and gone are the long dark days of winter. Spring is also the time for love and romance – you can just picture the scene, the happy couple smiling as they emerge from the church, wedding bells ringing in the air and confetti floating like blossom on the wind.

Yearbook Smiles

Thinking about smiling, marriage and well-being, one piece of research that every student of positive psychology can reel off is the Yearbook Study, in which the genuineness (or ‘Duchenne-ness’ as Chris Peterson calls it) of women students’ smiles in their college yearbook photos predicted, 30 years later, whether they were married and scored highly on life satisfaction, good relationships and managing stress. This study by Lee Anne Harker and Dacher Keltner in 2001 is often used to illustrate the ‘build’ aspect of Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build theory of positive emotions – that positive emotions are about more than just feeling good, they help to build social and psychological resources too. In short feeling happy now is much more than an end in itself, it’s also an important influence on your future well-being.

One of the limitations of this research is, obviously, that its participants are all female – it used data from a pre-existing study (the Mills Longitudinal Study) – and I wonder how much it also applies to men. Do men’s smiles now predict future happy marriages and personal life satisfaction?

But What About Men?

Yesterday I accidentally came across a little snippet of new research by Simine Vazire, Laura Naumann, Peter Rentfrow and Samuel Gosling on smiling which suggests that male and female smiles don’t mean the same thing. In other words smiling reflects different emotions depending on gender. This study found that smiling is positively associated with positive emotion in women but not in men. In men, smiling is negatively associated with negative emotion. Curious isn’t it?

Want to read more about happiness and positive psychology, smiling and sharing the love? If so…JUST CLICK HERE