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How Facial Expressions Affect the Mood of those Around Us

By Darlene Oakley HERWriter
 
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When thinking about facial expressions and how they impact the feelings and emotions of those around us, several phrases come to mind: “the eyes are the windows to the soul” and “when you smile the whole world smiles with you.”

While scientists continue to find out exactly how emotions and facial expressions of those emotions actually work – another “chicken and the egg” type scenario – it is important to realize that the facial expressions we wear reflect and affect the people we come in contact with.

Effective Communication

It all boils down to communication. With the electronic age, many of us have become aware that sometimes the actual intended meaning of email messages are lost because we can’t see the expression of the person writing and sending the message. We can’t see if the person is sneering or smiling, frowning or winking--and not seeing those expressions can make a difference in how we interpret the message and how we react to that message.

Even in face-to-face situations where we can read facial expressions, messages are misinterpreted. Think of the last time someone said something that was supposed to be a joke, but was said with a straight face.

Our ability to effectively communicate and draw the right response from others, or to provide the right kind of support to others, comes down to being able to include accurate facial expressions – and observation of facial expression – to our interactions.

Facing Others

But facial expressions go beyond simply visually presenting our feelings and moods to others – they can actually change the day-to-day lives of those around us.

“A person’s face can do more than mirror the individual’s mood…it can create a mood for that individual…if you start your day with a scowl, before long you will become sullen and angry” (www.businessknowhow.com). People respond to facial cues. The emotions they observe on your face helps them understand how you’re feeling, what your words mean, and empathize with your situation. Their return facial expression can tell you if they’re getting the message you’re trying to portray or not.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Leisa

I really like this article as it is so true. Have you ever noticed that some people come across happy, inviting or nice to be around, even influential in business. They are often smiling & have a positive expression. I notice this at work or at the store or even with my kid's friends. Especially when I see an elderly person with a pleasant disposition or smile, I see a strength from them. As I relate to myself I tend to have a more serious expression, so I think I want to be postiive, I want to give "positive" back. Its not easy but it really makes a difference.

December 30, 2010 - 9:07pm
Darlene Oakley HERWriter (reply to Leisa)

Thank you, Leisa. It's something so simple, and yet can be one of the hardest things to do. It really is a conscious decision, but it can make a big difference.

Just a polite word or a smile can often turn the tables in someone's day. Perhaps they only need someone to be nice to them for once out of the many people that scowl at them throughout the day.

December 31, 2010 - 12:22pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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