Leigh Harris

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There is more research on the power of smiling

In the 2009 book, "Smile! The Secret Science of Smiling," by Elan Sun Star, multiple research projects and interviews point to the power of the smile. (http://www.smilesbook.com )

In "Smile!" world-renowned photographer and smile expert Elan Sun Star interviews David Chamberlain, PhD, who studies baby behavior from birth to conception. He didn't believe that it took babies 6 weeks to smile, as commonly believed. Accordingly, his research into multiple studies found that "first smiles were seen while premature babies were dreaming...premature babies were really big dreamers. The density of smiling for them was 34 smiles per 100 minutes of dream time, versus 8.8 smiles per 100 minutes of REM time for full-term newborns." Premature babies smiled early and often.

Elan Sun Star, who is also a pioneer in the mind-body-spirit self-improvement field, presented this book to his publisher. "When Elan Sun Star asked us if we would consider publishing Smile!, what he was really asking was if we could get the whole world smiling too." Peter Ragnar suggests buying a large bouquet of flowers and saying to everyone, "I'm so in love with life today, I want to give this flower away."

One more smile example. "The inner smile is a simple yet profound meditation based on Taoist and Chinese meditation practices. The inner smile can ease emotional or physical tension and is quite natural to all persons regardless of their philosophy of life. It is a powerful relaxation technique that utilizes the expanding energy of happiness and joy and the good feelings associated with smiling." Read more about the inner smile in "Smile!"

Neale Donald Walsch, Dr Masaru Emoto and astronaut Edgar Mitchell all believe in the power of "Smile! The Secret Science of Smiling."

What other research has been found on smiling? Has anyone else read this innovative book, and what do you think of the research and comments above?

  • May 25 2011: Hi, Leigh--I meant that introverts are, as you said, less likely "to move into situations with many others." We don't like large parties, and dislike the associated "small talk". But once we find the right setting, I suspect we smile quite readily.

    You're so right--smiles work anywhere. Might be an even more universal language than music! Reminds me--I have a neighbor who cannot speak nor hear. But she can smile! And we actually communicate pretty well.

    Thanks for your conversation.

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    May 22 2011: Same goes for laughing yoga!

  • May 20 2011: Thanks so MUCH for the info on the force of smiling! For years now, I've been going to the same restaurant for many breakfasts, and I often think, "Everybody needs a smile." Not only do I get and give smiles to the waitresses, but the guys and gals who clean up, and everyone I see regularly en route. I find that on my "days off" from my breakfast routine, I am more likely to become depressed or at least grumpy. NOW I understand why!

    I suspect that introverts are more vulnerable to the benefits of smiling than others, because we need special circumstances, and aren't as exposed as the others.

    And add to that that I am an expat living in a foreign country--where a smile says more than a bunch of misspoken words.
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      May 22 2011: Alinde,
      Thank you for your insightful and personal comments. Yes, I feel great after a day of smiling too!

      You mention introverts need special circumstances - do you mean because they are less likely to make the bigger effort to smile, or to move into situations with many others (who will then smile)? That is an interesting thought. I wonder if introverts stay more introverted because they don't get as many endorphins (etc) from smiles as people who surround themselves with others?

      I'm an expat too, but speak the same language. And smiles work anywhere, don't they?

      Take care, Leigh