A few weeks ago, I wrote about hugs after seeing a segment on the CBS Sunday Morning Show.

Well, I’m at it again.

Last week’s show included a short piece on smiling and how, with all the mask wearing, we’re losing out on a critical tool for social interactions.

But the story got me thinking.

What is it about smiling? 

Why is it so important?

Did you know smiles are “preprogrammed behavior”? 

It’s true.

Studies have been done on children born blind and they show the same kinds of smiles in the same situations as sighted people despite never actually seeing someone else smile.

Smiling is also linked to a person’s attractiveness. 

Studies show the intensity of a smile is directly linked to the level of attractiveness others feel for that person.  This is true even if the receiver of the smile did not find the “smiler” physically attractive.

Smiling is pivotal to our feeling of comfort.  Seeing a smile increases activity in the orbitofrontal cortex of our brains, the rewards center.

Smiles are also contagious.  When you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to do the same.

Not all smiles are created equal. 

Research done on a dating app found that men sent “likes” to women 71% of the time if the woman had a picture of her smiling with her head tilted. 

Of the most liked men, 79% had a picture of them smiling and showing their teeth (a sign of a genuine smile). 

While we may not be able to use smiles right now like we used to, it’s important to understand their power not only in social interactions but for our own wellbeing.

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