Do you want to be the person who walks into a room and lights it up with your smile? Smiling seems to come more naturally to some people than others, but like any habit, it gets much easier with practice. Smiling raises your spirits and makes other people happy as well - it's a very powerful expression.


Improving the Look of Your Smile

  1. Practice smiling regularly. If you practice smiling in front of a mirror, it will become easier, and you'll look less strained when you do it. Practice what you feel to be your most attractive smile, and it will eventually look and feel more natural.[1]
    • Look at photos of yourself smiling in different ways. Decide what type of smile you like best and replicate it in front of the mirror. Once you’re comfortable with the smile, practice without a mirror.
    • Practice smiling at random strangers. Simply make brief eye contact with a person and smile. As you do so, think happy thoughts. Not everyone will smile back, but note how you feel when they do.
  2. Smile with your eyes. A genuine smile will naturally include your eyes. It is called a Duchenne smile, and it's not something that is easily faked. When you practice smiling, work to include your eyes in the expression so your wind up with warm, genuine smile.[2]
    • To get a feel for how to make your eyes smile, stand in front of a mirror and practice smiling, but concentrate only on your eyes. You may find it helpful to cover the lower part of your face with a piece of paper.
    • When your eyes do smile, remember how it feels, including which muscles are working and how. With practice, you may be able to smile with your eyes at will by relying on your feelings and muscle memory.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene. You may be reluctant to smile if you are self-conscious about your teeth or breath. Eliminate these worries by taking active steps to ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as possible.[1]
    • Brush your teeth and tongue regularly, carry floss wherever you go so that you can clean up after eating, and have breath freshener on you at all times.
    • See your dentist regularly for teeth check-ups and cleaning, as well as discussing options for teeth straightening or other treatments if this is a concern for you.
    • If your teeth are stained, consider any lifestyle habits that contribute to the discoloration, such as smoking and drinking too much red wine, coffee, or soft drinks, and try to cut down them. Look into whitening treatments if that will help boost your confidence.
    • Deal with bad breath. Regular cleaning and breath fresheners should be adequate for basic bad breath. However, if these don’t work, it may be a sign of an underlying health problem, so see your doctor for advice.

Smiling for the Right Reasons

  1. Make your smile genuine. While it is possible to crack a smile when you’re in a bad mood, smiling under these circumstances can sometimes make people wary of you because they can tell the smile isn’t authentic. Offer a genuine smile to others whenever possible.[2]
    • To ensure that your smile is genuine, don't smile when you just aren't feeling it. It will give others the impression that you can't be trusted.
    • Remember how it feels when you do crack a genuine smile. Try to regain that feeling each time you smile.
    • Even if you aren’t in the best mood, think of something that truly makes you happy before you smile. That can often lead to a genuine smile.
  2. Smile when you feel good. A genuine smile comes from being happy and positive. Be happy that things are going well for the person you're talking to, that someone's joke is funny, or that you're about to eat your favorite food.[2]
    • Even when you aren't feeling cheerful, you can still find reasons to smile. Focus on the positive things that are going on in your life and it will be easier to smile.
    • When you're dealing with a person or situation that makes you feel ambivalent and you're not sure whether smile or not, err on the side of smiling – find one thing that is positive about the person or situation and use that to create your smile.
  3. Smile out of love. Think about someone you care about, such as the person in front of you, or something that you genuinely love to do. It's much easier to produce a natural, easy going smile when you focus on the people or things that you love.[3]
    • If you find yourself in a situation where it’s important to smile and you aren’t necessarily feeling it in the moment, it helps to have a mental list of people and things that you love to run through in your head to make it easier to smile.
  4. Smile when you're feeling playful. When you’re having fun or enjoying yourself, it’s always easier to smile. See life as an adventure and allow your inner to child to play by engaging in games, sports, and other leisure activities.
    • When you’re playing a game or participating in an activity with friends and family, avoid getting overly competitive. Remember that you are supposed to be having fun, so you’ll have an easier time smiling.

Making Smiling Part of Everyday Life

  1. Smile when you normally wouldn't. Make an effort to smile at times when you usually don’t. For example, smile at the bus driver on your morning commute to school or work even if you’re tired. Smiles attract attention, but it's the right kind of attention and can help make the world a more positive place.[4]
    • Smiling at work or during other professional occasions is not going to make you seem unprofessional. It can actually humanize you and make you appear more approachable so you can communicate with co-workers more effectively.
    • A smile makes you seem "real." It may make you feel more vulnerable, but that means you’re opening yourself up to others, which provides the opportunity for more meaningful connections.
  2. Expect smiling to be difficult in some situations. Whether it's for a photo or to keep your mother happy when relatives you can't stand visit, smiling on demand can be difficult. That’s usually because you lack a genuine reason for smiling. In these situations, try to remember past reasons for smiling and focus on the techniques that you’ve practiced.[3]
    • For a photo, smile a little harder than you think you should. That will ensure that your smile is as photogenic as possible.[5]
    • If you prefer to smile with your mouth closed, try placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth. That helps tighten the muscles in your face and neck for a more natural smile.[6]
  3. Enjoy the many benefits of a smile. To encourage yourself to smile, it helps to understand the benefits that a smile can bring to your day. You’ll smile more often if you know how it affects the way you feel and interact with others.[4]
    • Smiling improves your appearance. A person who is smiling is usually thought of as more attractive than someone who is frowning, pouting, or sporting a blank expression.
    • A smile can often say more than words can. If you've hurt someone, made a mistake, or are just in a bad mood, a smile can help others know that you’re apologetic and want to make amends.
    • Smiling create trust and rapport. It is a simple way to make other people feel more comfortable around you so it’s easier to form a bond and communicate.
    • A smile can make you feel good. Even if you're feeling down, focus on happy thoughts and allow yourself to smile. It can release endorphins that help improve your mood.[7]
    • Smiling can make other people feel good too. An open-mouthed smile is visible from fairly far away, so it can help put almost anyone whose path you cross at ease.


  • Opportunities for smiling are all around you. Make the most of them.
  • In a photo, it may help to laugh or giggle so your smile appears more natural.
  • If you are self-conscious about your teeth, opt for a closed-mouth smile. It can be just as attractive and effective as an open-mouth style.
  • Smiling is a great defense mechanism. If someone is trying to bring you down, smile around them to resist their efforts.
  • When you meet someone new, greet them with a smile. That will help get your relationship off on the right foot.
  • If you smile at someone you don't know, chances are you'll make them very happy— and they'll smile back.


  • Avoid having spinach or other food stuck in your teeth when you smile. Duck out to the bathroom after a meal and do a quick check of your teeth so you know that you’re ready to smile.

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