Is Smiling Contagious?

Many times when we see someone smile, we’re automatically prompted to smile back. Even if you’re having the worst kind of day, as soon as you see someone smile, you simply cannot stop yourself from smiling back.

Both spiritual leaders and scientists alike agree that the simple act of smiling can change your outlook and the world around you. Smiling makes you look more attractive to others and it’s a good way to lift your mood as well as the mood of the people around you. Smiling is also a way we communicate with each other, just like our other facial expressions let others know how we’re feeling. Even infants effectively communicate with their faces without understanding what their own expressions mean.

Humans are Wired to Be Social

By nature, we are social beings and science tells us that our brains are structurally designed for sociability. When we interact with another person, there is a neural bridge or a brain-to-brain connection that forms. Mirror neurons in our brain monitor everything the other person is saying and doing. These neurons function in sync to activate the same part of our brain that’s being activated in the other person’s brain. This is how two people are able to keep a conversation on track.

When you see someone smiling, your mirror neurons responsible for smiling are activated to create awareness in your mind of the feeling linked to smiling. You don’t even have to think about how that person is feeling as you effortlessly and immediately experience the meaning of the smile.

Smile and the World Smiles Back

Before mirror neurons were discovered, it was widely believed that our brains used logical thinking to understand and predict the actions of others. Now, it is generally agreed upon that we understand others by feeling and not by thinking. The old saying “Smile and the world smiles with you” really is true as smiling is contagious and something we all should be doing more of!