Charles Darwin was one of the first person’s to suggest that our expressions may actually intensify our feelings. This theory is commonly known as the ‘feedback loop’ or even ‘facial feedback hypothesis’. Simply using the same muscles as a smile will put one in an instant happy mood. That is because use of those muscles is a part of how the brain evaluates mood. A smiling expression feeds on how we experience mood, therefore making us feel happier or even a joke seem funnier.
What constitutes of a real smile?
The importance of the eyes and forehead when smiling authentically are very critical. The genuine smile involves not just the muscles around the mouth, but also the ones that cause the cheeks to raise and the eyes to crescent. People who smile just with their mouths (let’s consider the “say cheese” smile when taking a photograph) don’t experience the same rewards as those who are smiling with their entire face; yes, no doubt they do experience some of the benefits, just to a lesser degree.
Fake it till you make it
Smiling can trick your brain into believing you are happy which can then spur actual feelings of happiness. But it doesn’t end there. Study shows how the brain is connected to the immune system “over and over again”; depression weakens your immune system, while happiness on the other hand has been shown to boost our body’s resistance.
What is superb is that just the physical act of smiling can make a huge difference in building your immunity. When you smile, the brain sees the muscle’s activity and assumes that humour is actually happening. It does not bother to sort out whether you are smiling because you are genuinely joyous, or because you are just pretending.
Even forcing a fake smile is considered to legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate. There are plenty of more studies out there to make you smile. Smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress and lower heart rate in tense situations; another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while yet another suggests that smiling leads to longevity.
There are too many good things that come from smiling for you in order to not to make your smile a priority in your life. Be proactive and take care of your smile every day. It is not only about how your smile can change how people perceive you; it can also affect other people’s health and well-being. We all deserve a happier, less stressful life, so share your lovely smile with others and you will bring good things not only into your life, but into the lives of those around you as well.
Smile, its free therapy!
Let us list down the multiple benefits of Smiling:
Smiling is very good for your health
You tend to think of a smile as a result of positive emotions or stimuli, but it turns out that your smile can actually affect your stress levels and productivity, too. Smiling also releases endorphins, which improves your mood, helps you relax, and lowers your blood pressure. Endorphins are the same chemicals you get from working out or running, resulting in what is known as a runner’s high. Smile more to get that high without running. Smiling is so contagious, the benefits of your smile extend beyond your own body to the people you engage with.
Improves your heart health
The release of endorphins through smiling increases blood flow. Smiling has been associated with an increased HDL (the good cholesterol) levels in the body. Smiling also lowers the stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine). Thus, smiling and laughing more can improve overall heart health for sure!
Maintains your blood pressure
Neuropeptides are essentially required by the nerve cells for communication. These neuropeptides are responsible for the release of the happy chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) of the brain like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. Whenever you smile these neurotransmitters are released in the body which not only relaxes the body but also helps manage your heart rate and blood pressure.
Gives a boost to your immune system
Smiling and laughing initiates the release of serotonin in the body which increases the sense of happiness and well-being in the body. Serotonin also helps boost the immune system as it stimulates monocytes and lymphocytes (which are types of white blood cells that fight against infections in the body) and also regulates the release of cytokines (chemical messengers of the immune system).
Smiling tends to improve your relationships
People find you more attractive when you smile. Studies show that different areas of the brain light up when looking at pictures of people who are smiling versus who are not smiling. People who are smiling to any degree are generally labelled more attractive (and women are considered more trustworthy) than those with neutral expressions.
Smiling improves effectiveness in the workplace
The benefits of smiling extend beyond interpersonal relationships to even the work environment. Smiling at your co-workers creates moments of connection that lead to greater productivity and teamwork. People in the service industry prove to have a more positive effect on customers when they smile. People in leadership positions tend to favour their employees who smile more regularly.
Smiling boosts your activity
Not only can smiling make you feel happier and more positive, but it can also help you become far more productive. Studies have shown that being happy has a great effect on productivity in the workplace.
Smiling can cause us to be happy and experience happier emotions! This helps us to become more productive as we can have a better mindset. Although, this can also be said for the opposite, negative emotions can cause us to become drained and less productive, so best to keep on smiling.
You will make a better leader
If you are in a position of power or want to be in one, smiling may be the key to your success. Smiling is a more effective leadership technique than having great management responsibilities. The next time you really want to show off those leadership skills, just smile please. Kill them with success and bury them with a smile!
You tend to be more approachable
Turn that frown upside-down if you want to make some friends please! Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile is indeed an inviting facial expression that tells people you are willing to talk and interact with them.
Smiling will make you far more comfortable
Our natural tendency is to stick to things that are familiar, but smiling tends to decrease this need. A study found that smiling can make you more comfortable in situations you would otherwise feel very awkward in.
You tend to be more trustworthy
If you want to improve your credibility, simply smile more. What could be easier than that? Trusting doesn’t come easily to many, but smiling at someone may definitely help. A smile can mean more than a pleasant greeting. Learn how to maximize your daily smiles to improve your health and relationships.
Practice makes one perfect
Practice makes one perfect—Children smile, on an average, 400 times a day, whereas the happiest adults only smile 40-50 times a day.
Consider the hidden power of smiling, that smiling is like a superpower. But unlike the power to fly or to become invisible, this one can be learned, practiced diligently, and improved upon of course.
So do watch a funny movie or even a sitcom, play more with your kids, hang out with happy people and practice calling to mind someone who really lights you up when you are posing for a picture. The smile on your face could literally make you happier, healthier, more effective, way more attractive, and you will live a longer life. Doesn’t the thought of that make you smile?
To know more about Smile Foundation’s work on mental health visit https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/Media/covid-19-lockdown-smile-foundation-plans-mental-health-tele-counselling-in-14-states-15april20.html