I’m sure you’re naturally more interested in hanging out with people who smile more. But did you know about all the health benefits of smiling?
While doing research for this blog post, I couldn’t believe what I found. Smiling more directly influences your brain and body. It’s a cause-and-effect relationship.
Don’t believe my word for it?
I found scientific studies that confirm this notion that smiling helps you out, often without you consciously noticing.
It’s kind of crazy. Because you can choose to smile whenever you want.
But let’s have you check it out for yourself.
Benefits Of Smiling
1. Smiling makes you happier
You’re happier the instant you smile because your brain releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These natural highs lift your mood and make any situation you’re in more enjoyable. So a smile before surgery or on your birthday are both going to make you happier.
2. Smiling decreases stress
Two University of Kansas psychologists conducted a study published in the journal Psychological Science which found smiling lowers heart rates and decreases stress. All participants had lower heart rates during a stressful task when smiling. And since heart rates signal the body’s response to stress, it appears all you need to do is force a smile or do a real smile to reduce stress.
3. Smiling attracts friends
This study found that a genuine smile leads others to believe that you have unselfish intentions. People want to hang around people who will be cooperative socially. So, essentially, your smile can be your magnet to attractive friends.
4. Smiling increases trustworthiness
Everyone wants to be seen as trustworthy, it’s a great quality to have. And it’s easier to accomplish than you think. A study in the Cognition and Emotion Journal had participants exchange money, and the receivers who genuinely smiled often received the most money. The key is if you want to gain more trust in your relationships or with clients, smile early and often.
5. Smiling strengthens your immune system
Because smiling releases endorphins, which helps your body relax, it also strengthens your immune system. Keeping your body healthier is as simple as choosing to smile more often. That’s cool.
6. Smiling boosts productivity
Smiling has the ability to change your brain. And if you smile regularly, it can change the brain’s patterns to think more positively. This change toward positive thinking leads to higher productivity and achievement.
7. Smiling makes you look younger (more attractive)
The Max Planck Institute in Berlin conducted a study that showed smiling makes people look younger. The study had participants look at 171 faces with different facial expressions—smiling, disgusted, sad, angry, fearful, and neutral. And the results showed that people were most likely to underestimate a person’s age when looking at the picture of them smiling.
8. Smiling leads to higher brain function
Another study published in the Cognition and Emotion Journal found interesting results when testing positive emotions affect on cognitive states. In Experiment 1, people with real smiles were better at seeing the global-local picture in their task. And in Experiment 2, real smiles increased attention on the task at hand.
9. Smiling is contagious
Last but not least in this list of smiling benefits, smiling is also contagious. A study from the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, found that smiling can trigger another person to smile. We smile back at someone who is smiling to help our brain understand their feelings and how to respond. Put simply, we can help others feel happier by smiling at them.
(To be clear, a real or Duchenne smile—one that raises your mouth and cheek muscles plus forms crow’s feet around your eyes—produces more benefits than a forced, fake smile.)
Loosen Up And Smile More
Now that you know the benefits of smiling, what now? It’s time to make an effort to smile more often.
Choose to hang out with people who make you happier. Spend time with more positive people and less negative people.
Or if you need to get away from people for a moment, watch a funny show or movie to get smiling and laughing.
And aim to take yourself less serious. You’re not expected to be perfect. So relax and smile at yourself whenever you can.
When you master this habit of smiling, you can have a terrible day and still find a way to smile about all the blessings you have in life. That’s when you’re onto something powerful.
For example, you can always smile that you have food to eat, a bed to sleep in, and air to breathe.
Smile that you have friends or family members who have your back.
Smile just because you’re alive! Ironically, you’ll probably live longer by doing it.