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The Enigmatic Smile Of Mona Lisa

July 27, 2017 Nicole Lyons

If there was something you could give people that would brighten their day, would you? What if this something was absolutely free, and only required a tiny amount of effort on your part? Imagine giving someone a chance for an uplifting moment. You can—all you have to do is smile.

FB-The Enigmatic Smile Of Mona Lisa.jpg

What does smiling do for you?

Well, research shows that it depends. Is your smile genuine or not?

Think of one of the most famous pieces of art, the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci. Is she smiling or not? Take a minute to Google a picture if you need to. This mysterious facial expression has been debated for years, and it really appears that the answer is in the eye of the beholder.

Studies have shown that different parts of the brain are activated depending on whether your smile is true or false. True smiles are associated with feelings of humour and enjoyment, while false smiles are associated with embarrassment or masking emotions. Stronger smiles that use more of the face are typically perceived as more authentic (Korb, 2014).

Smiles are like sneezes and yawns—
they are contagious

When you smile at someone, they probably smile back. Some people do project an Ebenezer Scrooge vibe, but a little kindness can usually thaw even the most resisting personalities. Smiles, just like sneezes and yawns, seem to be contagious. And unlike sneezes, they don’t require a tissue or apologies.

You can choose whether or not to smile more during your day. For a minute though, pause to think about how much good you could do. Smiling will make you feel better, and the effect it has on others is a bonus. It doesn’t require any real effort to smile more, and it certainly won’t cost you anything.

Positive attitudes lead to innovation and creativity

Imagine someone who is always unhappy. Always complaining. Always finding fault with others and in themselves. Will this person be a good, uplifting leader? Will this person encourage innovation, risk-taking, and creativity in an organisation?

Probably not. 

Teaching your brain to believe that you can create and succeed is important. Having the right attitude will help you achieve success. As simple as it may be, the change to positivity can begin with something as humble as a smile.

Join us to learn about attitude with the The i4 Neuroleader Program. This program can give you the strategies to ensure that your capacity for Innovation moves forward and never stagnates.

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Did you decide if you think Mona Lisa actually is smiling? Whatever you think, try to incorporate more smiles into your life. The people around you, whether they are family, friends, coworkers, or strangers, will appreciate seeing smiles.

A thing so small can have a profound effect on someone, and the rewards to your own life will be immeasurable.

Improve your Attitude  Ever wondered what attitude adjustments you need? New advances from different  scientific fields are helping us better understand how our brains and bodies  function and the incredible impact they have on the way we lead.  Learn how our i4 Neuroleader Program can help develop your personal leadership. Download Program Guide

Citations
Korb, S., With, S., Niedenthal, P., Kaiser, S., & Grandjean, D. (2014). The Perception and Mimicry of Facial Movements Predict Judgments of Smile Authenticity. PLoS ONE, 9(6), e99194. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0099194

Nicole Lyons

Nicole Lyons

Nicole is the About my Brain Institute's researcher and blogger. As a writer and science educator she is passionate about sharing scientific knowledge to refute ignorance and misconceptions. Nicole is also a devoted wife and mother to two children, two cats, a dog and frog.

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