A smile can go a long way. It can start a friendship, dissolve an argument and spread happiness.
Scientific research has shown that smiling, or just seeing a smile, is contagious and can stimulate happy thoughts, even if you're not feeling particularly joyful at the time. So it seems our facial expressions have a greater impact on our lives than you might have thought
Here, expert Susannah Schaefer, CEO of charity Smile Train, explains the physical benefits associated with smiling.
1. IT LOWERS STRESS
When a person is smiling, it affects certain muscles within the body that make you feel happy. The movement of muscles in your face releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling. These endorphins lower stress levels, which improves your mood. Even if you are not feeling happy, endorphins will trick your body into thinking that you are. So, the more you smile and stimulate your brain to release this chemical, the happier you will feel.
2. IT BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Laughing and smiling also encourages the release of serotonin. Like endorphins, serotonin is a neurotransmitter which contributes to a person’s happiness and wellbeing. Serotonin has many positive benefits – one of which is boosting the immune system. So, laughter and smiling really is the best type of medicine!
3. IT'S A UNIVERSAL SIGN OF HAPPINESS
Smiling is one of the very few gestures which means the same thing all around the globe. Handshakes, thumbs up, and hugs can have completely different meanings in different countries however, the meaning of a smile is universal. This means that you can travel anywhere in the world and communicate happiness
4. SMILING MAKES YOU MORE APPROACHABLE
A smile suggests that you are approachable, personable, and trustworthy. In fact, smiling connotes positivity in general. Psychology has shown that smiling makes you more attractive to others. This is because a smile is an inviting facial expression which eases tension and makes people feel comfortable around each other. People are more likely to engage socially with someone they perceive to be friendly, and a smile is the perfect way to demonstrate this.
5. IT HELPS YOUR HEART
The release of endorphins through smiling also increases blood flow and lowers blood pressure. This means that you can lower your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems – just by cracking a smile. Endorphins have many great health benefits and a simple smile will have you feeling good on the outside, as well as the inside.