A smile is a beautiful thing. It’s a universal symbol of happiness and a force of nature. Yes, a force of nature. A smile is a very powerful and contagious thing. It can change your mood, your feelings, even actions. You can calm fear, insecurity, hurt and anxiety not only in yourself, but in those that are experiencing those feelings. Give to the world and the world will give back to you!
The good news is that it doesn’t cost a thing, yet unfortunately, an average adult smiles only 20 times a day (in comparison, an infant or toddler smiles up to 400 times a day).
Keep reading to see the benefits of smiling, so then maybe that will encourage you to smile more and open the door to the happy and healthy life.
Research that examined the baseball cards photos of Major League players in 1952 showed that the span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life! Players who didn’t smile in their pictures lived an average of only 72.9 years, while players with beaming smiles lived an average of 79.9 years.
The researchers of the 30-year longitudinal study in California that examined the smiles of students in an old yearbook, and measured their well-being and success throughout their lives, were able to predict: how fulfilling and long lasting their marriages would be, how highly they would score on standardized tests of well-being and general happiness, and how inspiring they would be to others. The widest smilers consistently ranked highest in all of the above.
The act of smiling actually makes us feel better. The study in Germany showed that facial feedback (such as imitating a smile) actually modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain, and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile!
Smile and you feel happy, you feel happy and you smile! Even when you’re not feeling great, try smiling, genuinely, and see how you feel! Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match. British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars.
And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.
Smiling also makes us look good in the eyes of others. A recent study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent. Smiling also offers encouragement to the person that you are talking to, and it's crucial when it comes to first impressions. Smiling when you first meet someone will indicate to the other person that you are genuinely happy to see them and that you are a positive person. These impressions will be lasting on the other person so definitely not one to miss!
As we mentioned before smile can change mood and feelings not only in yourself, but in those who are experiencing those feelings. The next time someone is feeling sad, scared, nervous, whatever it may be, smile with them and see how this makes them feel!
Another research suggested that our behaviours can actually influence our thoughts and feelings! As this is the case, we encourage you to SMILE! Simply forcing a smile will give you the benefits of the above. Stand up straight, work on your posture, smile to the world and ‘fake it till you make it’! It WILL work!