The Benefits of Smiling

September 18, 2018

smiling drawingIf you’ve seen Annie, you know the truth–You’re never fully dressed without a smile! It’s also likely that you’ve heard this–it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

We know, all this sing-songy smiling advice can get annoying.  There are days when you just don’t feel like putting on a happy face. But, sickeningly sweet as these tips may sometimes seem, there actually is some truth to them! Smiling can boost your mood and provides a host of benefits. Keep reading to learn why your smile really is a miracle.

4 Reasons to Smile More

  1. It Floods Your Brain With Feel-Good Hormones (More than Chocolate!): According to a British study about pleasure inducers, one smile can generate the same level of stimulation in your brain as eating up to 2,000 chocolate bars. As much as we love chocolate, we’d rather just smile than eat 2,000 bars!
  2. Smiling Can Make You Live Longer: A 2010 Wayne State University research project suggests that smiling could extend your life span! The study analyzed pre-1950s baseball cards. Players who were smiling in their pictures lived an average of nearly 80 years, while players who were not smiling only lived 72.9
  3. Smiling Can Reduce Stress: Holding a smile during times of stress can protect the heart, according to a recent study from the University of Kansas. The study followed volunteers, some of whom held a genuine smile, some a fake smile, and some a neutral expression. A few volunteers were even asked to fake the smile by holding chopsticks in their mouths! Researchers then monitored the volunteers’ hearts as they completed various tasks. At the end of the testing phase, even those who had chopsticks in their mouths had lower heart rates than those with neutral expressions.
  4. People Respond Positively to Smiles: Smiles are contagious! That’s because seeing someone smile triggers the cingulate cortex, the part of your brain that delivers unconscious reactions. When you smile, those who see will smile too, and since smiling makes people feel good, you will be spreading joy to those around you.

Forced Smiles Have Benefits Too!

We all fake a smile from time to time, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of! Forced smiles offer awesome benefits as well. Take a page from Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hanh’s book. He said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Even a fake smile can lead to a mood boost!