Searching the Internet, I discovered quite an array of opinions. For example, there are those who believe the old adage, claiming it takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 17 to smile. One medical student debunked the theory by stating “there are only about 36 named muscles of facial expression.” (Click Here)
At least one plastic surgeon believes it takes one more muscle to smile than frown.
So what do you believe? Who is right?
And one other question: if the only difference between a smile and a frown is the position of one’s mouth, why is a smile more pleasant to look at?
There’s more to a smile, or a frown, than just the tightening or relaxing of certain muscles. A genuine smile (or frown) originates in a person’s heart (inner being, spirit) and soul (thoughts and emotions). It’s one reason why, most often, you can tell if a person is happy or mad without even seeing their mouth. Just look at their eyes, listen to their voice, or watch the way they walk.
I’m not sure how many muscles it takes to smile or frown. But I do know this; smiling is healthier.
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)
The person whose heart is filled with God’s love, joy, peaceful contentment, and thanksgiving, is someone who can sow seeds of encouragement into the lives of those around them. They look for ways to lift up the fallen, and those burdened with tremendous pain. They possess a simple, yet powerful, resource that God can use to make a difference in someone’s life.
The genuine, from the heart, healthy smile.
It’s one of the reasons Solomon wrote, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it flows the forces of life.” Proverbs 4:23
In this age of fitness facilities (seems like there are more of them than churches, nowadays) many have carved out time from their busy and hectic schedules to make certain they are physically fit; their muscles toned and their body trim. If you’re one of those people, great. I salute you for having the determination and discipline to see it through.
But don’t forget the most important part of your body. For whether or not it takes more muscles to frown than smile, never underestimate the power of a healthy smile.