Chinese girl dances with fan -Giacomo Pirozzi/UNICEF

Never underestimate the power and impact of one simple facial gesture: your smile. Universally understood even by infants, the movement of upturning your lips can create happy feelings—even when you are not feeling happy. According to science, smiling is good for you.

Everyone has seen how an infant responds to a smile. The response is instinctive. Dr. David Chamberlain studied babies beginning at conception, and studied brain activity in infants. Contrary to popular belief, early smiles are not all “gas”.

Smile centers in the brain are active from a very early prenatal stage of development, and they are now considered to be an important part of learning how to cope with the world, even before we see our first glimpse of daylight, according to Smile! The The Powerful Science of Smiling.

Dr. Norman Cousins was able to reverse his own cancer with laughter because the body has its own biochemical system of responses, so that even a fake smile can lead to real happiness. Studies of brain waves have revealed that faking a real smile was sufficient to activate the pleasure centers in the brain.

Try it right now. You will likely feel a response.

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The smile may be more useful in defusing a negative situation than any persuasion. It is the easiest way to uplift someone’s day, especially a stranger who may be experiencing tough times.

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