The Ultimate Guide to Social Self-Mastery

10 Social Habits Destined to UP Your Interpersonal Game

Habit 8: Smiling from the right side of your mouth.

You may be wondering, how could today’s habit help me with interpersonal communication? I’m flattered. Thank you for asking!

Smiling is far easier than frowning. Scientists have proven that it takes more facial muscles to frown than it does to smile. They have also proven that by placing a pencil horizontally in between your teeth, your brain releases the same endorphins as those it would if you were smiling. The reason for this is that by holding the pencil between your teeth, you are changing your physiology by engaging the same muscles you use for smiling; it is like a domino-effect. By these standards, I bet a lot of those study participants went home happy people.

Now, the same effect is not replicated if you were to try balancing the same pencil between the space of your upper-lip and nose. Engaging in this motion triggers the same chemical reaction in your brain as the muscles associated most with frowning; this action increases cortisol levels.

Let us translate this concept into understanding today’s habit by knowing that if we engage in certain behaviors and enact certain muscles in sequence, we can thereby encourage the hormonal transformations associated in either polarity. In short, your physiology has effects on your psychology.

People who are authentically smiling will engage every facial muscle associated with authentic smiling. Namely, the eyes will pull back, and the skin will crinkle around the edges of your eyes, and your face will be pulled backward as you engage in an authentic smile.

Have you ever seen a picture of someone that was totally faking a smile? It was easy to tell, right? You knew because the smile was crooked.

When someone is engaging in a fake smile, the left side of the face tightens more than that of the right. This is true because of the way the face is structurally-balanced. So, if you chose to continue smiling from the left side of your face, wouldn’t that make you feel worse overall? Absolutely.

So, if you deliberately chose to “fake your smile” from the right side of your mouth, wouldn't you actually be making the decision to increase your overall levels of happiness? You bet!

But how can this be so?

The muscles on the right side of your face are far less likely to be influenced by “ego-action,: meaning that by contrast, they are much more likely to be true indicators of overall emotional affect. The body language for deceit is primarily directed by muscles located on the left side of your face; so, if you fake a smile with a left-weighted crook, you are surely expressing to others that you cannot and should not be trusted; you will also feel it in your body, not to mention the feedback you’d be getting from others!


Homework Preceding Day Nine

Food for thought: how have you been smiling at people? Were any of your gestures for Day Two’s exercise to smile at people?


Give this a shot; “try this one on”: if you have to fake a smile, make sure actively to engage the muscles on the right side of your mouth, instead of commencing your smile from the left side. Take note on the differences.