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In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.

 

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December 8th, 2010

Smile Real Big Now

 
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smile-flashAccording to a new study, humans are pretty good lie-detectors when it comes to figuring out a fake smile from a real one. Yes, people are studying the good old smile. Turns out that holding a smile for at least 15 seconds-even when you feel down-can lift you mood considerably. Yes, we smile when we’re happy… but the reverse seems to be true as well: When we smile, we become happier.

But before there was any lab-tested proof of the power of a smile, the advice industry had grasped the power of this costless technique. A simple smile was among the top principles Dale Carnegie would teach the young men and women who came to his career and public speaking workshops in the 1930s. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, he said in his bestseller How to Win Friends and Influence People, force yourself to do it. “Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy.”

 
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The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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