Smiling Animals That Will Put a Smile on Your Face

We smile when we are happy, but can smiling itself make us happy? This idea was first proposed by Charles Darwin when he wrote “the free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it.”

And in 1989, a psychologist named Dr. Robert Zajonc published a significant study on the emotional effects of smiling. He found that the physical act of smiling has a direct effect on the areas of our brain associated with happiness and can induce a happy emotional state.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” –Thich Nhat Hanh

So, do animals smile like us? And if so, are their smiling facial expressions the result of an emotion? In 2012 an international group of prominent scientists signed The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness proclaiming that many animals (including all mammals, birds, and even the octopus) are conscious and aware to the degree that humans are.

A smile is a light in the window of the soul, indicating that the heart is home.

Whatever the case may be, no one can deny that we are all generally happier around animals. And not only is laughter contagious, so is smiling. So let’s put a smile on your face with these adorable smile-inducing photos of animals smiling.