I feel like everyone is in need of a smile. I know I am! There is something that is so raw and contagious about seeing others smile. The more I looked through some of our images, the more I was intrigued by the actual science of a smile. What makes us smile and what effect does smiling have on us?
Research is a wonderful thing and there is plenty of research when it comes to the smile. Delightfully it is all extremely positive. In finding some good smiles in imagery of past, present and future, I genuinely can’t help but smile, really smile, with true contagion and a wave of endorphins.
So what is the true power of the smile and which smile has the best effect? Is it a smile with the eyes, the cheeks, the mouth alone, or to show sincerity, contentment, excitement, joy, kindness, exhilaration and more? The benefits, it seems, are great across them all.
Smiling makes us feel really good. It has health benefits, inflicts happiness on those around us and makes us look younger! We were born to smile. In fact we actually smile in the womb and in our sleep as a young babe. So, it is life that teaches us not to smile and with this in mind we can also train ourselves to smile more! This is a satisfying truth.
According to the well-known smile expert Ron Gutman, Darwin states that the act of smiling itself actually makes us feel better rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good. Smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin, three neurotransmitters that make us feel good from head to toe. These natural chemicals elevate our mood, relax our body and reduce physical pain. Consider smiling a natural drug.
Gutman goes on to state that one single smile is as stimulating to our brain as eating 2000 bars of chocolate or winning £16000 pounds. Wow!
The act of smiling actually helps the human immune system to function more effectively both by reducing stress and improving your immune function as a consequence of being relaxed. In today’s world this can only be a good thing.
Smiling is also said to make us all more attractive and is said to make us look more youthful. Cancel that face-lift and just try smiling your way through the day. The muscles we use to smile lift our faces, making us appear younger (and feel better).
Make someone smile.
Finally, and importantly, you can personally reap the benefits of smiling, but you also have the power to affect those around you with the simple act of a smile. A smile is proven to be contagious whether it is offered to family, friends or even strangers. It costs nothing and does so much! If 2020 has taught us anything it is that community and family are vital to survival and a smile to a stranger may impact them in more ways than we could imagine. Testing my research, I smiled at a lady last week, whilst shopping for essentials, who then struck up a conversation with me and my son. We chatted for 15 minutes and as we said our farewells, she thanked us saying it is the longest conversation she has had with anyone since March! Now as I whinge about home-school and the uncompromising juggle that is my current circumstance, I feel blessed to have company, noise and mayhem surrounding me. With this in mind I have committed to smiling so hard that strangers can see it across my masked face, wrinkled in the eyes and with the power to conquer loneliness, soften heartache, evoke delight and change someone’s day for the good. As Mother Teresa states: “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”