We’ve all heard the expression “smiling is contagious”, and it’s true!
But while we usually want to avoid contagious things, this is one case where we encourage you to share, spread and pass along your infectious smile. Numerous studies have discovered mind and body benefits resulting from smiling. Even if you are having a terrible day and nothing is going right, hear us out on how smiling can vastly improve your attitude and happiness.
1. Smiling has a positive chemical effect on your mood.
Smiling, even when it’s forced, indicates to your mind that you're happy. This in turn causes the brain to release endorphins, the body’s “feel-good” chemicals that combat depression and anxiety. Of course we all go through difficult life events where it’s impossible to muster a smile, but when you can, fake it ‘til you make it! Stretch those lips – the chemicals released will soon have you feeling better.
2. Smiling limits the negative effects of stress
Your facial muscles have the power to impact your whole body’s reaction to stressful events. One experiment showed that people who smiled while performing stressful tasks had lower heart rates than those who did not smile. This even worked if the participants didn’t know they were “smiling”. A group was asked to hold chopsticks between their lips instead of being told to smile or frown. This simulation still lowered their heart rates compared with the group who held neutral mouths. Whether you are running a marathon or driving home in traffic after receiving bad news, keep your heart rate down by smiling.
3. Smiling can make you appear confident, approachable and trustworthy
It’s always nerve-wracking to approach someone who looks mad or upset, so putting a smile on your face makes it easier for someone to come up to you. You’ll see the benefits of this approachability in your career, at home and in your overall daily life. Researchers also found that people with the highest intensity smiles seemed more trustworthy to others. Additionally, the self-confidence you can establish through smiling goes a long way towards attracting more positivity to your life and helping your brain create a pattern of positive-thinking. Smile big!
4. Smiling and laughter go hand-in-hand
Your silly forced smile may cause you (or those around you!) to erupt with laughter, and we all know the age-old adage – laughter is the best medicine. Laughter is great for your health because, similar to smiling, it releases endorphins, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. There are also studies currently investigating a correlation between laughter and a boosted immune system.
5. Smiling has a domino effect and spreads happiness
As we mentioned above, the saying “smiling is contagious” is actually true. But why? Due to our mirror neurons, it’s our natural reaction to mimic others' expressions, like smiling. When you smile at someone and they return the smile, they receive the same mood-lifting benefits as you. This means you have the power to change someone’s bad day into a good one!
Smiling is one of our greatest forms of expression as humans, so take advantage of its many benefits! Share a smile every day.