Week 44 Blog- Smile      

What is a smile- I have to add this, for I wondered this week about some of the people I met if they actually know what a smile is? Simply, turn the corners of your mouth up. Try it! You can even show your teeth if you want! Go look in the mirror. Show your family. Now for the test, when you are at work or outside your home- use that smile. It does not have to be directed at anyone. You can smile just to smile!!

Research has shown that smiling can actually trick your brain into thinking that you are happy. This is also the case whether your smile is authentic or not, it can have the same result.

Benefits of smiling-

1.            Smiling to boost your mood- When you smile, it can also trigger us to think about pleasant memories we have experienced which can improve our mood. Your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. Then other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins come into play. Serotonin is an antidepressant. The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever. Endorphins make us feel happier, as smiling can alter your brain’s emotional pathway. In fact, it might even be worth it to fake a smile. In one study, researchers discovered that when subjects were asked to bite down on a pencil (simulating a smile-like face), they reported more positive feelings than subjects that were asked to purse their lips around the pencil (more of a frown-like face). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12555795/  Finally a study where no more research is requested!!! I am smiling about that!

2.            Lowers Stress and Anxiety- Studies looked at people who had to deal with stressful situations while smiling. Those people who smiled were found to have lower heart rates than those who were not smiling. Heart rates can also be linked to stress and anxiety. The fact that smiling can cause lower heart rates shows that this is a great health benefit.

3.            Makes You More Approachable- Studies have also shown that people feel that others who smile are much more approachable than those who do not smile. This can help with work, friends, and complete strangers. People who smile are easier to talk to. It is much more enjoyable to talk or spend time with people who smile.

4.            Boosts Your Activity- Studies have shown that being happy has a great effect on productivity in the workplace. Smiling can cause us to be happy and experience happy emotions! This helps us to become more productive as we can have a better mindset.

5.            Creating a Ripple Effect- the benefits of smiling aren’t just limited to yourself. It can also affect those around you. The reward center of our brain is activated and it makes us feel a little better. A Swedish study in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior suggests that we can’t help but react with a smile of our own when we see someone smiling.  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10919-010-0098-6    

6.            Makes You Look Younger- studies have shown that when we smile, you can look about 3 years younger. It can naturally lift your face and can stop any frown lines that you may get. If I can look younger- I will smile to that!

7.            Lengthens Your life- Smiling can lengthen your overall lifespan. One 2010 study in Psychological Science, found that genuine, intense smiling is associated with longer life. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797610363775

Overall, happy people seem to enjoy better health and longevity. Research published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well- Being suggest that happiness could increase lifespan by years—suggesting maintaining a happy, positive mood may be an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. https://iaap-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x

8.            Suggests Success- Research in Trends in Cognitive Science has shown that people who smile regularly appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and are more likely to be approached. https://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/fulltext/S1364-6613(16)00016-4?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1364661316000164%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

When you put on a smile at a meeting, with customers or in your work space, you might find that people react to you differently- positively!!

Smiling is a conscious and intentional choice. Whether your smile is genuine or not, it can help your body and mind in a variety of positive ways. Smiling offers benefits for your health, your mood, and even the moods of people around you.

The best part about smiling is that the only instructions needed are “just do it.”  When you smile, the mental and physical health benefits begin.  So, turn that frown upside down- Smile for the health of it! Give it a try today!