There is much power behind a sincere smile. It's been proven that smiling is contagious. And it is certainly one of the first displays of emotion that an infant shows that elicits a powerful response to the recipients. Success magazine reports that when you are around happy and smiling people, you involuntarily begin imitating their actions and attitudes. Once you begin to mimic these behaviors, you in turn begin to have an emotional response as well resulting in an elevated mood.
Needless to say, this contagious reaction could go either way. You either end up in a boardroom full of happy people, or boorish grumps.
But in those moments where you really cannot hide the bad feelings brewing inside, can and should a smile be faked? And what, if any, could be the negative outcomes of such a deception?
One reason why it is so hard to fake a smile is that it is really difficult to make it believable. This is because it really does look obviously different. This question has been asked for a long time and was actually studied by French Neurologist, Guillaume Duchenne back in 1862. He found that we use different muscles when we smile genuinely versus when we fake a smile. The difference has to do with the muscles around the eyes. When we smile from the heart, the muscles around our eyes contract and cause wrinkling and squinting of the brow and upper cheeks. An insincere forced smile uses strictly the muscles of the cheeks with no upper face involvement, the difference being visible. If you have ever been confronted with a snarky customer service representative telling you to have a nice day with that kind of smile, you no doubt recognized immediately that her face did not sync with the words coming out of her mouth.
The negative effects of fake smiling can be that people may not trust you. If you lack sincerity, people may think you are hiding something and may even doubt your honesty. This can negatively affect your career and ruin your success at job interviews or promotion opportunities. Also, the deception may not just be felt by those around you but have negative effects on your own emotional health. The constant stress and strain of playing a role may take a toll on your health physically and psychologically.
So, what to do in those moments when you really want to make a great first impression but can't work out the whole mind over matter thing? Try to take a time out and reset your mind. Focus on those things in your life that do make you happy. Thinking about these things, even though they may be unrelated to where you are in the moment, will likely be reflected on your countenance. Soon, just the mental image of you cheesing a fake smile, may be all the fuel you need to get you flashing the real thing.
Wouldn't it be great to wake up with a smile on your face everyday, not dreading going into work? Contact us about healthcare jobs that will get you grinning. And if you are interested in this and related topics, visit the Career Advice section of our blog.
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