The non-technical definition Duchenne smile is a genuine smile that comes straight from the heart, reflecting true joy or real happiness i.e., not a forced or polite smile. The technical definition of a Duchenne smile is one that involves the use of the orbicularis oculi muscles or in layperson terms, the muscles that orbit the eye. In other words, an authentic smile reaches up to your eyes, involves your entire face, not just your lips or mouth (which utilizes the zygomaticus major muscles for those of you who collect odd facts).
The Duchenne smile is named after French anatomist Duchenne de Boulogne who first observed it in 1862. Research exists showing Duchenne smilers to have meaningfully longer life spans presumably due to the basic health benefits of happiness.
While it is possible to fake a Duchenne smile, it is not easy and usually requires significant practice. Of much greater benefit, simply taking a moment to appreciate the moment, find the blessing and the benefit and adopting an “attitude of gratitude” and the “habit of happiness” will naturally result in an outpouring of spontaneous Duchenne smiles.
“Smile, it’s free therapy.” – Douglas Horton, 1891-1968
“A smiling face is a beautiful face. A smiling heart is a happy heart.” – Dr. T. P. Chia
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward, 1921-1994
“Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.” – Yoko Ono, b. 1933
As always, I share what I most want and need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier