Smiling happens without much thought. When you watch a friend do something silly or embarrassing, you smirk. When a police officer lets you off without a ticket, you grin. Smiling is a very natural response that shares our happiness with others.
Did you know that smiling also triggers activity in your brain? Yes, there is a serious mind-body connection there, in your left frontal cortex to be exact, which is—not surprisingly—the area of your brain that registers happiness.
So what is it that makes you smile? How often do you smile in a day? Do you smile when you meet new people? When you see your friends? Around your co-workers? How about your significant other?
Read on for six reasons why smiling is good for you, your health and your social life!
- Smiling can make you happy (even when you are not).
The mind-body connection is real! The simple act of smiling sends a message to your brain that you are happy; and when you are happy, your body pumps out all kinds of feel-good endorphins. Studies have shown even when we “fake” a happy smile, our bodies react and our endorphins start to flow!!
- Smiling can make others happy.
Louis Armstrong said it best, “When you’re smilin’, the whole world smiles with you.” Have you ever heard that song? Well, it is true. Research shows that smiling is contagious.
- Smiling makes you more attractive.
Ever wonder why we are asked to smile in photos? Because people usually look their best—and happiest—when smiling. So Say Cheese!
- Smiling can help you de-stress.
Reducing stress is so important for health, too, as it can lower blood pressure, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar. Note that this works during workouts, too! If you’re having a hard time getting through that last rep or getting those final 5 minutes in on the treadmill, smiling can do wonders! Smiling is a Healthy Choice!
- Smiling can help you land a job.
The next time you are dressing to impress, make sure to take that beautiful, natural smile with you!
- Smiling can lead to laughter.
Laughter also helps blood flow, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces stress and improves sleep. It may also raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body, which helps boost your immune system. Therefore, the moral of this story is smile—and laugh—often! It is like a good medicine!
- Smiling just feels good.
Did you know that women are far more likely to smile than men? They do this in many different social situations, even though they are not necessarily happy or amused. In one field study, researchers smiled at approximately 150 males and 150 females in public. In general, women returned the smiles more often than men. Women returned the smiles to men 93 percent of the time and to other women 86 percent of the time. Males smiled back at women 67 percent of the time, and they returned smiles to men 58 percent of the time.
The Communications Gender Gap, Mid-Atlantic Center for Sex Equity, 5010 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 308, Washington, D.C. 20016, 1984.
Jennifer Walters, Health and Fitness Writer