11 Benefits of Smiling
Did you know that the first of October is World Smile Day? It’s a relatively new holiday, it became official in 1999, to celebrate the creation of famous smiley face symbol. Using a yellow circle with a pair of black dots to represent the eyes and a simple curve to express an honest and pure smile, the smiley face was created by a commercial artist named Harvey Ball in 1963.
To celebrate this day, people are encouraged to smile, follow your dreams, and make small acts of kindness. For Harvey, smiles were all about the connection between people. If you do so, you'll smile and in turn, you'll brighten somebody else’s day.
It turns out that Harvey might have been on to something. After all, smiling has a wide range of benefits for your health and mood. And, it can even strengthen your relationships.
In short, smiling is much more than just showing off your pearly whites.
1. You’ll live longer.
One of the best reasons to smile might be that it could make you live longer. In a 2010 study, it was found that genuine, intense smiling is linked to longer life expectancy.
While there’s more research to be done, there is some evidence to suggest maintaining a positive mood could contribute to living a longer and healthier life. Thus indicating happiness could extend life for many years.
2. Elevates your mood.
Feeling down? Try putting a smile on next time. It's likely your mood will improve. Smiles physically activate pathways in the brain that influence your emotional state. So just by smiling, you can trick your mind into feeling happy -- regardless of whether it's real or not.
When you smile, neuropeptides, as well as hormones like dopamine and serotonin are released, enhancing your neural communication. It's like a natural anti-depressant when you smile.
3. Relieves stress.
A person's face can be a reflection of their stress level. A smile not only keeps us from appearing tired, worn out, or overwhelmed, but it may also reduce stress levels.
No matter how much you feel like smiling, or whether you fake it with an insincere smile, smiling has the ability to reduce stress.
4. Helps you fight illness.
In an environment without as much stress, your immune system doesn’t work so hard to defend against an imagined threat. As such, it can maintain your physical health. Smiles boost immunity and increase white blood cell counts, which protects against infections.
5. Lowers blood pressure.
A smile could lower your blood pressure. Laughter is especially known to lower blood pressure after it increases heart rate and breathing initially. Researchers have found that smiling can lower your heart rate in the face of stress, but further research is needed to figure out exactly how it lowers blood pressure.
In case you have a blood pressure monitor at home, you might want to test this theory out. Relax for few minutes and take your reading. While still smiling, take your reading again. Does the reading seem different now?
6. Reduces physical pain.
Several studies have demonstrated that smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are natural pain relievers. By releasing these chemicals as a whole, our bodies feel better as a whole. Additionally, they reduce physical pain and promote relaxation.
As we’ve already mentioned several times, smiles have natural healing properties.
7. Makes you a more positive person.
Often, the brain uses negative thinking as a defensive mechanism. But that behavior has only negative effects.
Smiling can counteract that. With this process, your brain can be retrained to make better decisions, think more positively, and feel better about life.
8. It’s contagious.
The power of a smile has been proven time and again, but is it really true? Actually, it does carry a hint of truth. In addition to elevating your mood, smiling can also benefit those around you.
Your brain responds automatically to the facial expressions of other people - and sometimes you imitate them. As a result, you might notice another's smile and smile unconsciously.
So, yes. Smiling is contagious, as scientific research has proven.
9. Builds trust with others.
People who smiled were more likely to trust them, according to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh. If you want to make a good first impression, smile when you are in the right situation. This may make people feel more comfortable around you.
10. Makes you look younger.
Smiling makes people appear younger, according to researchers. Study participants underestimated the ages of people who smiled or weren't smiling when shown photos.
In addition, 63 percent of people believe smiling in photographs improves an individual's appearance.
11. Contributes to success.
There is evidence that shows smiling regularly makes people appear more confident, increases their promotion chances, and makes them more approachable. When you attend meetings or business appointments, smile. Perhaps you will discover people will respond more positively to you.