Louis Armstrong was onto something when he sang, “when you smilin’ the whole world smiles with you.” Although, Mr. Armstrong isn’t the only one who recognizes the impact of a toothy grin! Science backs up this claim; read on to learn why smiling more can benefit your health.
4 Reasons to Smile More
- People Respond Positively to Smiles. When we smile at someone, it causes a chain reaction. The cingulate cortex is the part of our brains that delivers unconscious reactions; mirror neurons send messages to imitate another’s expressions in order to help us relate to one another! When you see someone smile, you are more likely to smile yourself, spreading love and positive vibes to those around you.
- Smiling Can Reduce Stress. Today we are so bombarded by technology that we often feel this surge of stress due to the amount of information we consume on a regular basis. Many of us turn to stress-reducing activities that take time out of our days, however simply smiling can be an effective stress-reducer! A recent study from the University of Kansas found that those who fake a smile have lower heart rates than those who hold a neutral expression.
- It Floods Your Brain with Feel-Good Hormones (More than Chocolate!) A British study about pleasure inducers found that a single smile can produce the same level of stimulation in your brain as eating up to 2,000 chocolate bars. Frequent smiles could mean a deficit in your caloric intake!
- Smiling Can Make You Live Longer. Smiling may add years to your life! A 2010 Wayne State University research project studied 1950’s baseball cards; players who were smiling in their pictures lived about 7 years longer than players who did not.
Forced Smiles Have Benefits too!
Sometimes a fake smile is all we can muster—but that is still better than nothing! Even forced smiles can benefit your well-being and others around you. Take it from Thich Nhat Hanh, famous author and Buddhist, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”