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Smiling While You Work?


Bearing the “Duchenne smile” is the healthiest way to work.  In the mid-19th century, French neurologist Guillaume Duchenne identified two types of smiles:

1) what we today call the Botox smile – just the CORNERS of the mouth rise;

Duchenne 1

2) and what has become known as the Duchenne smile – not only do the CORNERS of the mouth rise, but also the CHEEKS; while the eyes SQUINT – and/or form crow’s feet, if you have wrinkles.

The former smile is known as a fake smile, while the latter is recognized as a more honest display of joy.



What is interesting about smiling, fake or real, is that one can physiologically trick him/herself into a better mood/disposition by simply smiling.  The facial muscles trigger the brain to react chemically and produce positive emotions, thereby creating a better outcome to your day.

Another way of looking at this concept of controlling your immediate destiny is to engage in Method Acting at work.  Method Acting is a technique which actors use to create more lifelike performances.  Instead of mimicking behaviors and merely recounting lines from a script, actors attempt to internally re-produce the feelings and thoughts of the characters they portray.  (Note: This technique has led to a lot of dual on- & off-screen romances.)

When you allow your day to be disrupted by the words and actions of others, you relinquish your power, and subsequently your pleasure.  Emotionally Intelligent people manage to stay focused on feeling good about something.  Tap into that feeling, memory, person, or thing.  Negativity exists around you daily, and your mind has the ability to shield itself from much of it.

This is not to say you can easily become impervious to how others think of you.  As human beings (a.k.a. social animals), we are all susceptible to having “down feelings” projected by toxic co-workers and bosses. You just have to remember that their words bear just as much weight, if not more, on themselves, as they do for you.  Any criticism can be delivered with grace, diplomacy, or compassion.  Real leaders know how to do this well.

Most importantly: Self-worth can only come from within.  Positive self-talk is critical, and positive emotions will keep you focused, productive, and influential.  You are the master of your own happiness.

Above all, choose work you love to do; that’ll make it a Duchenne smile.

Say, “Cheese.”

When you change the frame, you change the game.”

― William Thomas, Bridgestone executive

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, with a Cheshire cat smile, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2015