According 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.”