Smiling with your eyes, which is called the “Duchenne smile” or “smizing,” is the most sincere type of smile. When you engage your eyes instead of just your mouth, your smile has the power to charm other people. The tricky thing about smiling with your eyes is that it’s very difficult to fake a smize; when you smile with your eyes, you’re really feeling happy. Channeling good thoughts when you smile can help you appear to be more genuine, and when you get really good at it you can smile using only your eyes. See Step 1 to learn more about how it’s done.
Practicing Your Smile
Learn what your genuine smile looks like. Scientists have pinpointed more than 50 different types of smiles, and research suggests that the sincerest smile of all is the Duchenne smile – a smile that pushes up into the eyes. The reason it’s more genuine is because the muscles needed to truly smile with our eyes are involuntary; they only become engaged in an authentic smile, not in a courtesy smile. Every time you smile because something makes you happy or you find it funny, every time your smile expresses how you really feel, your eyes will smile along with your lips. They’ll crinkle at the corners so that your whole face looks fully engaged in the smile. Look at pictures of yourself that were taken when you were laughing, or work yourself into a belly laugh by watching something funny and then take a selfie. Make sure you’re really feeling happy when the picture is snapped.
Now compare the picture of you smiling with happiness to a picture of yourself giving the type of fake, jack o’ lantern-esque smile you’ve probably flashed for a dozen school pictures. See the difference in the eyes?
Feel the difference in your face. Now that you’ve seen the difference, think about how it feels. A genuine smile that engages your eyes and mouth usually feels easy, natural and good. Contrast this to the way it feels to force a smile when someone says “cheese”: after a couple seconds of holding the expression, your face muscles start to get fatigued.
Once you identify the feeling of smiling with your eyes, try to memorize it. Practice engaging your whole face when you smile. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
On the other hand, remember how it feels when you aren’t smiling with your eyes. When that tell-tale forced feeling takes over your face, you’ll be able to correct your smile to make it look more genuine.
Practice imitating a Duchenne smile. Even though it’s a little tricky, you can imitate this type of smile by squinting slightly to create small pillows beneath your eyes. Look in the mirror and give it a try. If you produce crow’s feet in the corners of your eyes while attempting this, you are doing it properly. Once you master the smiling-eye technique, you will be able to use it to brighten up even very sly or faint smiles. Each time you smile, no matter what the reason is, try to remember to squint a little. Don’t overdo it, or your face will look distorted; just a bit of a squint will add the appropriate twinkle to your eye.
Try making eye contact as you squint to have a big impact on the person you’re smiling at.
Try an eyes-only smile. Do you feel that you’ve mastered the classic Duchenne? Try it without your lips. Those who are truly skilled at smiling with their eyes can express happiness or mirth without moving their mouth. That’s not to say your mouth should be frowning, but try holding it still while you smile with your eyes.
This type of smile is good to use when you want to express playful mystery. It’s for when you don’t want to give away too much by breaking into a wide grin; you simply want to project that you’re satisfied with the situation.
You could also smile without using your mouth when you need to hold a pleasant expression on your face for a long time. Let’s say you’re in a long board meeting and you want to look like you’re having a decent time without looking fake. Smiling with your eyes will make you seem approachable and positive.
Getting in the Right Mindset
Think positive thoughts. A genuine smile comes from genuine happiness. Studies on what makes people happy reveal that it doesn’t have much to do with material goods or high achievement; it seems to whittle down to your outlook on life. In other words, try to how to Be Optimistic and real smiles will appear on your face throughout the day.
Think about who has the most genuine smiles: kids! They don’t worry as much as adults because life is less complicated for them. Try to follow their lead and be laid back and playful!
Try not to force yourself to smile unless you’re really feeling happy. Stop being a people-pleaser. If you constantly smile in order to be polite and agreeable, you’re tightly controlling your countenance and not giving your Duchenne smile much of a chance to shine through. A real smile arises from your own personal joy, not someone else’s.
Find your happy place. When you’re in a situation that’s not making you feel cheerful, but you don’t want to appear as though you’re having a bad time, you’ve got to find your happy place. Think of something that makes you want to jump for joy, something that brings a smile to your face without fail. This exercise will help you recognize what really makes you happy. Look in the mirror and cover everything below your eyes with a handkerchief or similar. Then start thinking or talking out loud about your happiest memories. Smile as you do so. You’ll notice that at some points, your eyes “twinkle” and you get “crows’ feet” wrinkles near your temples. There’s your Duchenne smile! The closest you’re ever going to get to smiling with your eyes on command is to channel your happiest memories and let your face do the rest.
Have confidence in your smile. If you’re preoccupied with the color or straightness of your teeth, the prominence of your gums, the smell of your breath, and so on, you might subconsciously stifle your smile because you feel embarrassed. Taking care of the issues that distract you from fully smiling will help you have a brighter and more genuine smile. Look into whitening your teeth and getting rid of bad breath) to take care of two easy-to-fix sources of self consciousness.
If you really want to rock the Duchenne, play up your eyes as well. Maintain your eyebrows and use a little eye makeup to make your eyes stand out.
Be unselfconscious when you’re talking to people. When you’re in the moment, try to just go with it instead of thinking about yourself. Look into the other person’s eyes and really see him or her. If you’re genuinely glad to see the person, and they say something that pleases you, you’ll break into a natural smile. When you’re feeling nervous about how you come off to other people, it will come through in your smile. Instead of worrying about what impression you’re making, let yourself feel free to be expressive. Check out the other person’s smile when you’re talking. Is the person smiling with his or her eyes? If you see a Duchenne smile on the other person’s face, you know it’s genuine, which might set you more at ease and help you relax into the conversation a bit.
On the other hand, if the person’s smile looks fake, it might be hard to flash a genuine grin. If you want to seem sincere, you might have to channel some happy thoughts for a bit, or at least remember to squint!
Trying Other Smiles
Try squinching. Similar to smizing, squinching is when you lower your eyelids just a bit and slightly squint. In the meantime, smile slightly with your mouth, but don’t break into a full grin. It’s more subtle than overtly smiling with your eyes, and it gives the impression that you’re friendly and interesting. Some say it helps make a person more photogenic, as it projects confidence and sex appeal.
Practice teeging. This smile has more to do with your mouth than your eyes, but both features come into play. Teeging is opening your mouth slightly so that your teeth are showing and pressing your tongue up against them. At the same time, smize or squinch with your eyes. Done right, teeging makes you look playful and cute. If you try this pose for a selfie, take the picture from the side, rather than head-on.
Let loose and LOL. Laughing Out Loud at something funny is a great way to get yourself to smile. Try freezing right when your face is smiling big, and taking a selfie that captures your genuine smile. You’ll look happy, fun, and attractive, and best of all, it won’t be fake or contrived.
When you smile let it be your true and comfortable smile. Don’t let anyone tell you how to smile. Do it your own way and that will make a beautiful smile.
Duchenne smiles and wrinkles go hand-in-hand. And that makes sense in a way because genuinely happy people are too positive to let a few wrinkles get them down!
In the event you actually have difficulty smiling due to tension in the face or a tension headache, you can do a relaxation exercise.
You can look very weird if done wrong!
How to Dilate or Shrink Your Pupils on Command
How to Cross Your Eyes
How to Smile to Be Happy and Healthy
How to Smile When You Think You Can’t Smile
How to Smile for Better Health
Sources and Citations
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