It happens. You’re feeling down and need a quick pick-me-up. Or maybe you’ve found yourself in a silly argument you realize you’d like to get out of. You want to make things better in any little way you can, fast. What can you do?

Humans react almost instantly to the facial expressions we see in others. It takes just 30 milliseconds (thousandths of a second) for your brain to recognize and respond to others’ emotional expressions, such as smiling or frowning.

Research shows that these reactions are unconscious, meaning that they’re not even accessible to the conscious part of the brain, but rather are innate, unchangeable biological responses. We naturally mirror the facial expressions of the people we see.
So, when you smile at someone, he or she really can’t help but smile back at you.

With the understanding that smiling makes people feel happier, whether you’re the person making the smile or the person seeing it, and that smiling is contagious, we have a powerful tool to change our mood, our experience, and the world around us.

So, remember: Smiling will make you and those around you feel happier. In approximately 30 milliseconds!