5 surprising benefits of smiling
‘Smile and the world smiles with you,’ is possibly an over-optimistic (though certainly well-meaning) sentiment. And while we can’t promise that smiling will brighten up your grumpy colleague, there are a host of benefits that come with flashing those pearly whites. To mark International Day of Happiness, Susannah Schaefer, CEO of international children’s charity Smile Train, reveals the benefits associated with cracking a smile:
1 Smiling is a universal sign of happiness
Smiling is one of the very few gestures that means the same thing all around the globe. Handshakes, thumbs up, and hugs can have completely different significance depending on the country. However, the meaning of a smile is universal. This means you can travel anywhere in the world and communicate happiness.
2 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.
3 Smiling lowers stress
When a person smiles, it affects certain muscles in 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 you are. So, the more you smile and stimulate your brain to release this chemical, the happier you will feel.
4 Smiling 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 and the inside.
5 Smiling 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 to boost the immune system. So, laughter and smiling really are the best medicine!
Smile Train provides free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children in developing countries, giving them the power to smile.