Are you feeling sad or depressed? Then move your face in the smile position. Draw the corners of your lips up and back. The lips can be open or shut. Your teeth may be exposed. Raise your cheeks. Hold that smile for a few minutes, and see if you start feeling better.
Practically all of our facial features are involved in a smile. Some smiles are broad and spread across the face. Other smiles are mysterious and enigmatic as the world's most famous smile, the Mona Lisa.
A smile is the same in all languages. A smile is inaudible, but conveys a clear message.
As a world traveler, you should know about the gamut of emotions that a smile conveys in other cultures. In Indonesia a smile may denote happiness or anger, while the Thais, Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese will smile to express their confusion, embarrassment, or even sadness.
The Japanese smile takes its cue from the days when Samurai women were required, like the women of Sparta, to express joy on hearing that their men had perished in battle. To betray any sign of sorrow was a serious breach of their code of honor. Japanese greetings occupy the whole face, head, and torso, which are tilted toward the other person, a display reminiscent of the old fashion shopkeeper's or salesperson's smile to signal, "I aim to please."
In many lands, Sri Lanka, India, the Gulf States, and many nations in North Africa, smiling at a member of the opposite sex is taken as an invitation to flirt or have sex.
In 1992 millions of workers and senior management in Eastern Europe were trained in the ways of the West. One part of the training suggested smiling while they were on the telephone. "People can hear the difference."
Not all smiles are warm. "Smiling with cold teeth," is a Yiddish expression known in many homes around the world. Remember these Shakespeare quotes: From Macbeth--"There's daggers in men's smiles." From Henry VI--"I can smile, and murder whiles I smile." From Hamlet--"One may smile, and smile, and be a villain."
A simple smile where the teeth are concealed signals smugness, mild pleasure, or that the person is smiling to himself--lost in private thoughts.
Actors and actresses know that on stage smiles need to be exaggerated, even if the recipient's face is only inches away, before the audience in the back row can see it. The skillful actors recognize faked smiles must also include smiling eyes if they want to be convincing.
As we grow older, we smile and laugh less. With friends around us smiling less, we tend to fall into the same social behavior.
Charles Darwin noted with great joy that his son started laughing at about 14 weeks old. Darwin believed the next best thing was laughter. Tickling usually does it. But he did note that if a stranger tickled an infant, the infant screamed with fear.
Psychologists have noted that when we smile we don't want to take any particular action at the time. In laughter, however, one's ability to act is impaired. Sometimes we laugh so hard we can't move.
Laughter is a yelping, hooting or roaring sound, with the mouth open and the corners elongated, the nose wrinkled. Laugh lines radiate out from the corners of the eyes, with the head thrown back. If something is really worth laughing about, tears may even comes to the eyes.
Snickering involves exaggerated wrinkling of the nose and eye creases, distinguishable from a loud burst of laughter, which includes a noticeable head throw-back and little or no nose wrinkling.
There is also a forced laugh, when the eye muscles barely move, making the eyes appear dull and expressionless. The Koreans and Chinese have words of warning about the involvement of our muscles in laughter, and their advice is inclined towards the stomach. "Beware of someone whose stomach does not move when he laughs."
Another giveaway of forced laughter is the person who laughs too long or too loud, or both, at something that you might not think is funny. They may be trying to hide the fact by laughing, or maybe they haven't been listening. They may wish to convey their false appreciation by applauding you with meaningless laughter.
Familiar to all of us, is the fact that we might have missed a joke, but are too embarrassed to admit it. We laugh awkwardly, hoping our cover up goes unnoticed.
Most of us have had to force a laugh on different occasions, at a party or the office. Maybe we laugh too early or too late.
A person who laughs too often is either very happy or most often, embarrassed. Laughter is a way to reduce tension. Giggling may be a sign of secret sexual tension expressed by men and women, especially in Asian cultures. Many Africans express surprise, wonder, and sometimes discomfort in the form of laughter.
Westerners are the people most likely to laugh if they see someone slip on a banana, or when they are told that someone has died. They hide embarrassment and shock, but also convey to others that they find it amusing that they are embarrassed.
If you laugh or smile a lot, the lines become permanent, which can then be interpreted in your face language. Even if you are not happy at the time, the lines still appear ever present for the world to see.
By closely observing the faces of your friends, acquaintances or total strangers, as they smile or laugh you will learn to distinguish between expressions of a faked smile or genuine happiness. TYPES OF SMILES
USUAL SMILE - revealing the upper teeth, generally accompanies eye contact with another person, or a greeting such as "How do you do?" Or "Glad to meet you."
RARE SMILE - has the lower row of teeth exposed. This smile is associated with the tentatively displayed signals of a lonely person, who feels inferior, and unable to make social contact.
BROAD SMILE - shows both rows of teeth, when there is generally no eye contact, except at the end when the smile fades. This smile reveals both set of teeth in addition to exposing the gums.
COLD INSINCERE SMILE - usually are faked, looking every bit like the
facial expressions of people patiently waiting for a photographer to
snap their picture.
FAKED SMILE - is accompanied by unsmiling eyes, and at times even a cold hard stare.
REAL SMILE - is sincere and can last even after the other person has left.
The difference between a lightning and a frozen smile is the duration. A frozen smile is less intense, but both smiles are similarly false and not intended.
If you would like to know more about Face Language and the Personality
behind each face, contact Kathy Thompson at;