While we were children, we definitely smiled and laughed very often, but why do we do this less often when we get older? As we get caught up in our own hectic lives, we sometimes forget to smile. Some of us even go through life with a perpetual frown. You’ve probably heard the saying that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, so why waste your effort on a frown? There are many benefits we can gain from smiling, and even if you don’t speak the same language as the person beside you, a smile is enough to convey feelings of warmth and happiness. So just smile, after all it doesn’t cost you anything. Here are some of the reasons why you should smile more often.
1. Smiling Makes You Happy
We smile when we’re happy, but did you know that the act of smiling in itself could also make you happy? Whenever you smile, your brain interprets the movement of your facial muscles and releases neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which make you happy. It doesn’t matter whether your smile is a genuine one or not, your brain will react to a fake smile in the same way as it does a real one. This is because the brain only needs to interpret the facial muscle movement during a smile before triggering a release of endorphins. The more you smile, the happier you begin to feel. So whenever you’re feeling down, just smile and you’ll instantly feel better! And remember, even fake smiles will cheer you up, so fake it till you make it.
2. Destress and Release Your Emotions
Have you been feeling stressed by work or your studies lately? Smiling helps to lower your stress and anxiety levels. The cortisol produced by your body when you are stressed contributes to the negative feelings you experience. The endorphins produced when you smile can help to lower the cortisol levels in your body, reducing the feeling of stress and anxiety. Furthermore, when your brain triggers a rush of endorphins, your body will think that you are happy, and in response your heart rate and breathing rate will slow down, causing a calming effect. These bodily responses to smiling can help you to relax whenever you’re feeling stressed out.
3. Smiling Makes You More Attractive
Unless you’re a shark, smiling tends to make people appear more approachable. Think about it, if you need help and there are two strangers in front of you – one smiling and the other not, who would you seek out? Naturally you would gravitate toward the smiling person right? Whenever someone is smiling, they tend to appear kinder and friendlier, and thus more approachable and attractive to others. Psychologically, we are also more inclined to think that a smiling person is more trustworthy than one who is not. As a result of your positive appearance, your interactions with others will also be more positive and more people will want to be around you.
4. Smiling is Contagious
There are many things that are contagious – yawns, the flu bug, and zombie bites. Did you know that smiles are another contagious occurrence? Have you noticed yourself subconsciously smiling in response when you see someone else smile? Well there’s actually a scientific reason for this. We have mirror neurons in our brain that are activated whenever witness someone performing an action, causing us to imitation said action. In this case, when you see a smile, your brain tells you to smile back too. And as we know, the act of smiling alone is enough to make you feel happier. So smile more, and smile at people you meet during your day, you’ll find that your mood and the mood of everyone around you is instantly brightened!
5. Be Happy, Live Longer
You’ll be surprised to know that it’s not expensive pharmaceuticals or fancy exercise equipment that will help you lead a longer life. The real secret to longevity is just a simple smile. Smiling allows you to relieve your stress, but not just at brain level; your cells are also working to repair your body when you’re happy and smiling. This can reduce any potentially cancerous stress-induced cell mutations, and boost your overall physical health. As your body relaxes, your heart rate also slows, and your blood pressure is reduced, lowering your chances of heart disease. Your body also produces more white blood cells while you smile, boosting your immunity levels so you stay healthier. On top of that, you can add up to seven years to your life through smiling often, so smile more, be happy, and live longer!