How to Smile Genuinely With Your Eyes?

smile genuinely with your eyes

To smile with your eyes, you first need to know how it looks and feels when you do so, as compared to when you do not. Then all that’s left is to practise the movement until it feels natural!

Smiling is a way of communication, as it can convey warmth, friendliness, affection, politeness, anger, mischief, or even mocking, depending on how it is used along with other facial features. Here in this article, we talk about everything related to how you can smile with your eyes. 

Related: Facial expression and eye contact are very important in a speech, and this article will tell you why.

First, we will cover what it means to smile with the eye, then we will discuss what this is called, what are the reasons for doing it, and whether it can be done on demand. Then we will come to the most important yet straightforward method of how to smile with our eyes. Lastly, we will talk about some related questions.

What does it mean to smile with your eyes?

In technical terms, a genuine smile involves the contraction of the zygomatic major muscle and the orbicularis oculi muscle, which leads to the eye crinkling and forming wrinkles around it, with your cheeks moving slightly upward.

Here’s an example:

smiling with eyes

It is the type of smile that is commonly associated with the idea of smiling- a face of pure happiness.

In contrast, other ways of smiling that we see in daily life, such as in the workplace, tend to include polite ones rather than genuine ones. Some people prefer to use this smile even in their self-portraits. Here’s an example of that:

not smiling with eyes

The choice of smile depends on the context, one of them is not superior to the other.

What is it called when we smile with our eyes?

It is most commonly called the Duchenne smile, named after Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne. He was a scientist involved in mapping muscles, including the ones involved in facial expressions like a smile. Hence, the smile was named after him to acknowledge his contributions to understanding the various muscular patterns involved in genuine smiles.

This smile is sometimes also called a “genuine smile” or “smize”.

Why should you smile with your eyes?

It can help create a good impression, facilitate connection, increase positive emotions, and decrease negative emotions.

Good impression

Not only does this smile look attractive, it appears genuine and friendly. It can help create a good impression, be it your date, or a big audience you’re presenting to.

Facilitates connection

For the same reason, it makes a good impression, it also allows us to get along well with others. Being perceived as genuine or pleasant will obviously make people want to get along with you. Positive emotions are contagious and people enjoy being around others who elicit this experience. It can also help when you’re trying to solve a conflict as it can disarm people to an extent. 

Related: Strategies to resolve conflict

Affects our mood positively

We typically expect that positive emotion will occur first, which will then lead to a positive facial expression as a by-product. However, it can happen the other way around as well. According to the facial feedback hypothesis, our facial expressions can affect our mood. When you smile, you are more likely to experience positive emotions.

Reduces negative emotion

This is quite similar to the point right before this. It can also reduce negative emotions. For example, if you’re stressed, making yourself smile might reduce it. It sounds quite simple but in the first place, it’s quite difficult for a person who is feeling negative emotions to try things like smiling, which lies in direct contrast to their present experience. Hence, it’s natural to have some resistance to it. Perhaps you could try and see how that works out?

Can we smile with our eyes on demand?

Certainly! You can smile with your eyes on demand. Just because it is typically the result of genuine positive emotion does not mean that people cannot imitate and elicit it on demand. However, doing this without mirror practice might appear awkward and visibly fake to others. To make it more genuine, we can think about things that do make us smile, as we will cover below.

How to smile genuinely with your eyes?

This just involves two easy steps- getting to know your genuine smile and practising it until it feels natural to elicit on demand. You may also think about happy things to make the smile more genuine.

Step 1: Get to know your genuine smile

Stand in front of a mirror and think about pleasant things that make you happy. Observe how it looks and feels to be smiling with your eyes.

Compare this with your polite smile, which does not involve much eye movement. Remember to focus on not just the appearance of it, but also the feel so when the mirror is not there, you can still recall the difference.

Step 2: Practice

Now that you know what it looks like, you can practice the motion. Remember to not overdo it! Your facial muscles may get tired and your cheeks might feel strange, which will just demotivate you to further pursue it. 

It might feel strange at first as if you’re trying to do something unnatural that’s supposed to be natural. However, it will become natural in no time.

Step 3: Happy things!

It especially helps if you have things that make you smile that you can visualize. This could be a loved one, a happy experience, a meme, a photo of a cute animal, and so on. These are for when there isn’t anything in your environment that does genuinely make you smile, like if you’re posing for a photo. If the situation where you want to smile genuinely does make you smile, that’s the ideal situation. You can just direct your complete attention to what’s happening and your practice will show results almost automatically.

Now we will cover two related questions that often come up with our topic!

Does everyone smile with their eyes?

No, while smiling is very easily done, smiling with the eye on demand is not something everyone does. Some people are not aware of how much of a difference a Duchenne smile can make so they may not even attempt it. 

What is a Korean eye smile?

It is a type of smile commonly observed in Koreans and some East Asians and is said to be used by many Korean celebrities. While it is easy to mistake it to be the same as the Duchenne smile, it is different. The Korean eye smile focuses almost exclusively on the eyes and is characterized by small crescents at the corners. It is also not particularly associated with authenticity. The only thing that is common in both is that they involve the crinkling of the eye. 


We hope you now have a better idea as to how you can smile with your eyes. We have covered everything from the definitions and related questions to the know-how of how to do it. 

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