What is Smile?

Close your eyes and imagine your best moment, what do you see? Were you smiling or frowning at that moment? You were happy, you could say that as you wore a smile on your face. Now, close your eyes, smile and think of a negative event while smiling. It’s difficult, isn’t it?

A Smile is an involuntary response to happiness. Your mere act of smiling can make your mood better. Dolly Parton famously said, ‘Smile, it increases your face value.’

That’s good to know, isn’t it? Remember, Mr. Heckles from F.R.I.E.N.D.S? Only if he smiled maybe he would’ve been liked by his neighbours. A smile can connect a person to another irrespective of their race, religion, and ethnicity. That’s because a smile is a universal language of happiness, contentment and fulfillment.

The power of smile lies in that small curve on your mouth. It’s a contagious expression that can light up people and places around you.

Mother Teresa rightly said, ‘We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.’ So let’s find out some of the things we do not know that a simple smile can do. After reading the top 10 reasons for smiling, you’d know the power of smile. This can make you want to smile more and frown less.

Reason -1: SMILE can act as a mood stabilizer.

mood stabilizer

Feeling low and wanting to trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy? Just do one simple thing, SMILE! This can actually make your brain think that you’re happy. Smiling can make us think about pleasant memories unknowingly, thus improving our mood by releasing endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine or any one of the feel-good chemicals in our brain. Our brain knows that a smile is associated with positive experiences so when we’re smiling even in the presence of stressors, it tricks the brain into thinking that we’re happy thus leading to the positive physiological responses associated with smiling. Smiling also releases dopamine which helps a person produce feelings of pleasure and improve the ability to think and plan better. While chocolate can do that too but we’d like to watch our weight as well, right? How about smiling instead? A study showed that a single smile can produce the same amount of dopamine as 2,000 chocolate bars. Time to put those facial muscles involved in smiling to good use.

Reason – 2: Smiling can make you a more likeable and sociable person.

Imagine, there are two people in front of you, one who has a frowned face and the other one is smiling. Whom would you approach? Needless to say, it will be the one who’s smiling since smiling makes a person appear more attractive, friendly and genuine.  Power of smile could help you land a job, or get a job done as smiling makes a person look more open, optimistic, and impressionable. This can separate you from the rest of the applicants who are probably too nervous to smile but you can smile and lower that nervousness too!

sociable person

Reason – 3: A Smile is contagious and uplifts others around too.

Hanging out with a friend who’s always focusing on the negative? It can negatively affect your mood too. On the other hand if you’re with someone who smiles often it can make you feel light too as a smile is contagious thereby uplifting your mood. It can also help build healthier relationships.

Reason – 4: Smiling lowers stress levels.

Smiling leads to the release of endorphins, the good chemical of the body which suppresses the effect of cortisol, the stress hormone. Endorphins also reduce anxiety. A study conducted by researchers Sarah D. Pressman and Tara L. Kraft of the University of Kansas found that people who were told to hold a facial position similar to smiling while dealing with stressful situations had lower heart rates as compared to those who had neutral expressions. Higher heart rate is associated with stress and anxiety. Therefore, when we smile it lowers our heart rate, and our blood pressure thus making us feel less stressed and having a better and positive mindset to deal with stressful situations.

Stress level low

Reason – 5: Want to increase productivity at work? Smile.

One of the benefits of Smile includes enhancing our mood, another one is enhancing our mental space. This can help us perform work and tasks better thus making us more productive!

You can find evidence of this in a study conducted by Andrew Oswald in 2010 which found that workers who smiled more often were found to be significantly more successful and creative in the workplace. Smiling led to them feeling better thus helping them have a better mindset at work.

Reason – 6: Smiling eases physical pain as well!

Did you know that you could ease pain just by smiling? As mentioned earlier, smiling releases endorphins which is also known as the natural pain killer. A pain killer without side effects. Sounds great, eh?

Reason – 7: A smile is a tool for impression formation

Probably one of the most important reasons to smile- to look impressive! Benefits of smiling also include looking younger. Who doesn’t want to look younger and have a free face lift. Smiling can help reduce those frown lines on the face making you look more attractive and confident thus increasing your self-confidence, and self- worth. Someone once said, ‘The most important thing you wear is a facial expression.’ And, we can agree with him.

Reason – 8: Smiling enables us to build good relationships.

Having difficulty influencing others? Want to have a healthier relationship? You can do both just by smiling a little more? Smiling builds trust and helps you appear confident. It also leads to the release of oxytocin known as the ‘love hormone’ that helps in building stronger bonds. A smile breaks barriers, instils hope in people, and inspires them.

Reason – 9: Smiling makes us more memorable!

We all know Gandhiji, right? If we think about him, we picture him smiling not just because of his smiling face on that rupee note that you have but otherwise as well. It’s difficult to imagine him sulking. No wonder, he was so influential, there were other traits of course but his smile was definitely one of the reasons people were attracted towards him.

Reason – 10: SMILE is important for development and healthy growth.

A research found that less than 14% of people smile less than 5 times a day whereas happy people smile 40-50 times in a day which is still quite less as compared to babies who smile more than 400 times as it’s crucial for their physical and mental development. Smiling can increase your brain power thus making you more competent and efficient.

We hope some of these benefits of smile mentioned above encourage you to smile more. However, despite so many benefits of smiling, very few of us actually utilise this powerful tool that we have.

Let’s develop some new and helpful habits to make this happen and let the power of smile be empowering you.

a) When you wake up in the morning, go in front of the mirror and smile for a good 15-30 seconds. A proper Duchenne smile. Try to feel that smile instilling you with positive emotions and watch yourself feel better. Like the Joker said in The Dark Knight, ‘Let’s put a smile on that face.’ Maybe he wasn’t that bad after all.

b) Every time you feel stressed, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and visualise something funny or a happy moment and notice your mood shifting towards the positive side. You can even try watching something funny like an episode of your favourite TV show.

c) Lastly, share that beautiful smile of yours. You might brighten someone’s day and

make their day a little better just by your single smile. We never know who could use our smile to make their day so smile often. Feel better and make others feel the same. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have. Use it!

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