The Smile Epidemic: Investigating the Impact of a Digital Social Media Gratitude Intervention

Research shows that keeping a gratitude journal can enhance well-being. The Smile Epidemic Inc. is a start-up company that has developed a digital, photographic social media update on the traditional (private, written) gratitude journal. The Smile Epidemic invites people to express in a few words what made them happy or grateful that day, and to take a photo of that message. People can them post the photos in an online community (see and share via other social media (e.g., facebook). This updated gratitude journal has the potential to combine the demonstrated benefits of gratitude journaling with the benefits of social support, community acceptance and sharing. The Smile Epidemic is committed to taking an evidence-based approach to developing and improving their positive psychology products. The research goal is to understand whether, how, and for whom The Smile Epidemic enhances happiness, and the mechanisms that explain how it works. A postdoctoral researcher and three interns will conduct three research projects – first testing the basic intervention, next testing it in the workplace, finally implementing and testing new interventions based on the most recent scientific models of human flourishing.

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Anne Wilson


Scott Leith, Cindy Ward, Vanessa Buote & TBD


Smile Epidemic




Digital media


Wilfrid Laurier University



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