Time to turn that frown upside down!
May is the National Smile Month in Britain! But let’s be honest, you don’t really need a reason to flash those pearly whites. Smiling has so many benefits but I bet you never knew. So, let me break it down to you all the reasons you should always have a smile on that pretty face.
1. Smiling can boost your mood!
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist.
It’s amazing that our facial expressions do more than reflect our mood; they are capable of influencing it as well. When you flash a grin, your brain releases endorphins, the body’s happy chemical. Current studies show the ability of people’s moods to align with their expressions. Even fake smiles do the trick. So when you’re feeling sad or frustrated, and want to shed those negative emotions, try putting on a smile. Your mood may brighten up within minutes.
2. Smiling helps reduce stress.
It seems counterintuitive but recent studies have shown that smiling amid your frustrations delivers health benefits! A 2012 experiment revealed that subjects who were told to smile experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery compared to those whose expressions remained neutral. The next time you can’t find your keys, and your child is crying, and the world is going to hell, pause for a minute and force that smile. You’ll be more likely to calm down and continue on with your day, with less frustration.
3. Smiling makes you more attractive.
Did you know that 61 percent of us have been attracted to somebody just by their smile alone? A smile is a powerful element of the first impression. It gives off a subconscious suggestion that you’re personable, easy-going, and empathetic. So, beam your way into that job! Seal that deal! Or get that first date, all by initiating a smile.
4. A smile makes you seem more trustworthy.
A University of Pittsburgh study revealed that the bigger the subjects smiled, the more trustworthy they seemed. It seems that we are inclined to trust people more when they smile rather than when they are frowning or having a neutral expression. You can try using this valuable information to your advantage. When the need to impress someone arises and you need to gain that person’s trust, a genuine smile could do the trick.
5. Smiles are contagious.
When someone smiles at you, don’t you feel that natural urge to smile back? It’s almost involuntary. And there’s a scientific explanation for it! Neuroscientist, Marco Lacoboni highlights the role of our mirror neurons in this phenomenon. He says, “When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up too, initiating a cascade of neural activity that evokes the feeling we typically associate with a smile.” That’s why we always smile back. Mirroring others is our natural way of connecting with people and a grin is the simplest and quickest way to do just that.
6. Smiling makes you more productive.
Smiling doesn’t just give you a mood boost, that dose of dopamine goes a long way, by making us more productive people. Do you seem to get a lot more work done when you’re happy? It’s not just you. In 2010, a team of economic researchers found that happiness had a significant and causal effect on productivity in the workplace. And just as the positive emotions prove invigorating, negative ones are equally draining. So, be a better boss or employee by incorporating the smile trick into your workplace and your colleagues will slowly notice the improvements.
Great things usually come at a high cost. Not this one! A smile costs nothing and you can give it to anyone instantaneously. Plus, there are so many health, relationship and emotional benefits to reap from it. Start right now. Do it! Look up from this magazine and flash a smile at someone nearby. Take hold of this power you own to create happiness and make the world a better and friendlier place.