Smile–It’s Good for You
There are a lot of good reasons to smile. It’s a great way to make a good first impression and smiling also makes you more approachable to the people around you. Smiling is contagious and it will improve the mood of the people you come into contact with. There’s even research to suggest that it can help your career. But here’s something you probably didn’t know — scientific evidence shows that smiling is good for your emotional and physical wellbeing.
The Science of Smiling and Your Health
The simple act of smiling will actually cause you to be happier and healthier. That might sound like it’s backwards because we all know that people smile as a result of being happy. But smiling causes your body to release neurotransmitters called endorphins and this has all sorts of benefits.
Endorphins create feelings of joy when they are released and they also help reduce stress levels. This has the added benefit of enhancing your immune system. Here’s the really interesting part — you can get all these benefits from smiling even if it’s not a sincere smile. Research demonstrates that actively forcing yourself to smile will trigger the release of endorphins. According to Forbes Magazine, frequent smiling can even work to “rewire” the brain to help you maintain a more positive attitude.
There’s an old song that says you can “spread sunshine all over the place” if you “put on a happy face.” Now there’s actually evidence to support this idea. According to an article in Scientific American by a neuroscientist who teaches a UCLA, smiling at people doesn’t just make them feel better. It also makes them more likely to smile themselves.
Our brains have “mirror neurons” which encourage us to copy the behavior we witness. That’s why smiling can cause a chain reaction of happy feelings, spreading joy from person to person.
Smiling Makes You More Likeable and Attractive
There’s a body of research that demonstrates how people who smile more often are perceived as friendlier and more attractive to others. Studies indicate that both men and women are rated as more attractive by others just by smiling. People look an average of three years younger when they smile according to one survey.
Smiling for Success
In addition to making you appear younger and more attractive, smiling more often can also add to your bottom line. One way this is achieved is by increasing feelings of trust in those around you. When people trust you, it enhances your social health. This will improve all your relationships, including your professional ones. That’s why people who smile more often are likely to earn more money over the course of their careers.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find ways to smile more?
- Spend more time socializing with friends and family. Being around the people you care about will help you smile and laugh.
- Seek out humor yourself. Put on a funny video, read a humorous book, or play a fun game with friends.
- Practice smiling in front of a mirror and take note of how you feel. Memorize that feeling so you can more easily recreate that moment whenever you like.
- Reflect on the things that make you happy or the things you’re grateful for in your life.
- Place reminders on your calendar and around your home encouraging you to smile.
- Get a pet. According to scientific journal Frontiers, animal friends have been proven to help humans release endorphins like oxytocin which lowers blood pressure, decreases depression, alleviates anxiety, and creates a sense of calm. Of course, this will make it easier to smile as well.