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Share a Smile
Feeling happy? Go ahead and smile — but know that you may be telling others more about yourself than you think.
The meaning of a smile changes depending on the social context, studies show. Some smiles bring benefits, but others reveal hidden weakness. Humans smile more depending on who they're talking to, and those smiles can hint at their futures.
Without further ado, here are five things your smile tells others about you.
Will your marriage last?Slide 2 of 11
Will your marriage last?
Wedded bliss may be linked to an easy grin. According to a study published in 2009 in the journal Motivation and Emotion, the way people smile in old photographs predicts their later success in marriage.
In one study, psychologists rated people's college yearbook photos for smile intensity (muscle stretching around the mouth and eyes). They found that none of the biggest grinners divorced later in life. In comparison, 25 percent of the most straight-faced experienced divorce.
A second study of childhood photos of people over age 65 found a similar link. Among those with the biggest smiles in the childhood pictures, 11 percent later experienced divorce, compared with 31 percent of the least smiley.
A bigger smile may reflect a happy-go-lucky approach to life, the researchers reported. Or bigger smiles may attract a happier partner, and lead to a happier relationship.Slide 3 of 11
How fertile are you?Slide 4 of 11
How fertile are you?
A healthy smile can reflect your overall health, multiple studies show. For women, smiles can even reveal fertility.
Women with gum disease take an average of two months longer to conceive than women without, according to research published in 2009 in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Gum disease is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, respiratory disease and kidney disease. The link appears related to increased inflammation that accompanies gum disease, the researchers found. [5 Myths About Fertility Treatments]Slide 5 of 11
How much earning power do you have?Slide 6 of 11
How much earning power do you have?
A teenager's grin can predict how much cash he or she will rake in as an adult. According to a study published in 2012 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, happy teens earned 10 percent more income than average at age 29, while gloomy adolescents earned 30 percent less than average at that age.
Happiness is likely linked with fewer worries and less stress, study researchers reported. Less worry means more mental space to focus on job-related tasks.Slide 7 of 11
How powerful are you?Slide 8 of 11