A smile can make your life beautiful, but it also affects the life of those around you. Sometimes it’s hard to smile; issues, difficulties, problems pile up. Frowning seems to be a more appropriate response, only doesn’t help us feel any better.
Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
– Thich Nhat Hanh
For a lot of people smiling is associated with everything being fine in their lives; its their response to when everything is working out, everything goes according to plan, there’s abundance, satisfaction, pleasure, contentment, enjoyment, gratification, happiness, and joy.
But that’s not always the case, as life is also full of disappointments, frustrations, sadness, regret, guilt, sorrow, annoyance, dissatisfaction, anger, resentment. Smiling doesn’t have to do with your external circumstances. Smiling is a conscious choice to respond to yourself in times of happiness and pressure, to react to life’s circumstances in your own unique you flash your smile.
You don’t just smile because you are happy. You also smile because you want to be happy. Smiling is a conscious response that comes from deep within, this place within yourself that holds power and strength-only you don’t know how to access them all the time.
Smiling affects the physiology of the human organism and is beneficial for mind and body health.
SMILING AND YOUR BODY
When stressed, the physiological response is increased heart rate, rapid breathing, clenched jaw, tight muscles. When we feel good those responses change. The old adage advises “grin and bear it.” Tara Kraft from University of Kentucky and her team set off to investigate whether there maybe kernels of truth in it- can smiling help us feel better when stressed out?
The study’s results were clear: smiling affects our physical state and stress level. When smiling, participants had lower heart rate and more of a positive affect after recovering from a stressful situation. The take away lesson is that smiling helps reduce stress.
Reduced Heart Rate
Laughter and smiling are powerful medicines! That was the conclusion of Dr. Kei Hayashi from the University of Tokyo, Japan, and his team, after analyzing the results of over 20,000 individuals. The research translates simply that the more you smile and laugh during the day, the lower the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.
A British study even found that one smile generates the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate.
Lower Blood Pressure
Smiling and laughing are also linked to helping people keep their blood pressure low. What’s best, smiling is simple, natural, and can be produced easily in any situation.
Smiling Helps You Enjoy a Longer Life
A 2010 study from Wayne State University analyzed the photographs of players from the Baseball Register for 1952 and found that those with a full smile lived longer. So, if you want to live longer, invest in smiling and cultivating positive emotions.
SMILING AFFECTS HOW OTHERS SEE YOU
Smiling Makes Others See You in a Positive Light
Sara Gunnery and Mollie Ruben looked at several studies focusing on smiling and concluded that people will evaluate another individual more positively if that person is smiling. Thus, if you want others to see you as authentic, genuine, attractive, likable, trustworthy, more real, all you need to do is smile more!
Smiling Can Make You Look Younger
Although research is inconclusive, there are several studies showing that people perceive smiling individuals as younger than their biological age. Other studies show exactly the opposite, but certainly nobody can deny that a smiling face is attractive!
Smiling Can Make You Look Thinner
Researchers at UMKC found that the way we evaluate the body weight of others relies on how we perceive them, but it’s also influenced by psychosocial factors, such as whether the person is smiling or not! So, if you want other to see you as thinner, keep smiling!
When You Smile, the World Smiles at You
Dr. Alejandra Sel and a team of researchers studied how smiling can change the person’s subjective feelings, which in turns influences how this individual will interpret the facial expressions of others. The study results show that our facial expression affects the way we see others. When we are smiling, complex brain activity takes place, involving multisensory associative areas and the associative somatosensory cortex of the brain.
In plain language, this means that when we smile the brain also activates the body; positive affect is also felt in the body. It was also found that when we smile others smile back at us is not just a motor response, but the result of the brain’s visual processing.
SMILING AND YOUR MOOD
Smiling Makes You Feel Better
Research shows that even imitating a smile is powerful enough to get the regions of emotional processing in our brains to work. We smile because we feel good. But actually, if we don’t feel great, we can change our mood by instructing ourselves to smile.
Smiling Increases the Feel-Good Neurotransmitters
Neurotransmitters are natural substances in the brain that facilitate the transmission of messages within the brain and from the brain to the body. Increased levels of endorphins are associated with happier mood and well-being. Increased levels of endorphins, dopamine and serotonin are the biological hallmarks of happiness. Smiling affects the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, causing the internal feel-good. Antidepressants work to elevate levels of neurotransmitters in your brain. A natural way to boost the feel-good chemicals of your brain is to smile more.
British researchers found that one smile can stimulate your brain’s areas of pleasure and reward and allow you to feel the same amount of pleasure you would feel if you were to consume 2,000 bars of chocolate or unexpectedly win a large sum of money.
Fortunately, you don’t have to eat all that chocolate and you don’t have to wait for your lucky day! You can feel as good just by smiling!
Smile, but don’t try to deny or hide negative feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or an expert and make sure you express and process them.
Make sure your smile is genuine, because people can easily detect a forced, or fake smile.