Smiling may seem like an involuntary response to something cute or funny, but it is much more than that.
Studies suggest that smiling, forced or not, can have a positive effect on your mood, decrease stress levels, and even make everyone around you feel better. Here are 9 surprising benefits of smiling that will really give you something to smile about.
Benefits of Smiling
1. Smiling is Contagious
Because of complex brain activity that occurs when you see someone smiling, smiles are contagious. Studies report that just seeing one person smiling activates the area of your brain that controls your facial movement, which leads to a grin.
Even in bad situations, if you smile, others are likely to mimic the expression.
2. You’ll Decrease Stress and Anxiety
It’s not easy to keep smiling in stressful situations, but studies report that doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression.
So, the next time you’re feeling stressed, just try smiling to calm yourself down.
3. Smiling Releases Endorphins
Smiling can help you manage stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins, chemicals that makes you happier. Endorphins are the same chemicals you get from working out or running, resulting in what is known as a runner’s high.
4. You’ll Be More Attractive
A smile suggests that you’re personable, easy going, and emphatic. In fact, a study in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that smiling actually makes you more attractive to those you smile at.
5. Smiling Strengthens Your Immune System
Smiling even makes your immune system stronger by making your body produce white blood cells to help fight illnesses. One study found that hospitalized children who were visited by story-tellers and puppeteers who made them smile and laugh had higher white blood cell counts than those children who weren’t visited.
6. You’ll Be Friendlier
Studies have found that people are more willing to engage sociallty with others who are smiling.
A smile is an inviting facial expression that tells people you are willing to talk and interact with them. So, turn that frown upside-down if you want to make some friends!
7. Smiling Will Make You More Comfortable
Our natural tendency is to stick to things that are familiar, but smiling decreases this need. A study found that smiling can make you more comfortable in situations you would otherwise feel awkward in.
8. You’ll Be More Trustworthy
Trusting doesn’t come easily to many, but smiling at someone may help. Participants in a University of Pittsburgh study rated people who smiled as more trustworthy than people with non-smiling facial expressions.
So, if you want to improve your credibiility, simply smile more. What could be easier than that?
9. You’ll Be a Better Leader
If you’re in a position of power, or want to be, smiling may be the key to your success. A group of researchers from The University of Montpellier discovered that smiling is a more effective leadership technique than having great management responsibilities.
So, the next time you really want to show off those leadership skills, just smile!
Smiling is an easy way to boost your mood, be healthier, feel better, and be viewed as more trustworthy and a better leader. Whenever you’re in a stressful situation or are feeling down, slap a grin on your face so you can take advantage of the many benefits smiling has to offer.