When it comes to smiling, a lot of people probably do it more virtually these days, with any one of a dozen happy little emoji faces attached to electronic messages, than in real life. A lot of us don’t smile as often as we used to.
Children smile, on average, up to 400 times every day. Adults only manage 20 to 40 smiles daily, depending on mood and reaction to daily stresses.
A lot of us are missing out on some good things by not smiling often enough. The truth is that there is one thing that we each have control over that has been shown to have positive benefits for us, and that is smiling.
Among the health benefits of smiling more are reduced heart rate and lower blood pressure. Brain imaging and scans show that parts of the frontal cortex activate with smiling, calming your heart, leaving you feeling generally better and healthier.
Did you know that you can give yourself a little dose of positive mood chemicals in your brain simply by smiling? Smiling induces your brain to release chemicals that regulate mood improvements like dopamine and serotonin.
The literal “facelift” of smiling helps you look younger and healthier. Using your smile muscles regularly, just like any other muscles, helps to keep them more flexible and toned.
You will feel an improved mood as your brain produces happy chemicals that are linked to the physical act of smiling, and you will find that you are more likely to be able to think calmly and rationally while smiling than with a grimace or scowl on your face.
Stress links directly from the mind focusing on something negative to the body, with tension in muscles of the body and face. This causes you to focus narrowly on the perceived problem and can result in feelings of panic or being overwhelmed.
Relaxation, on the other hand, radiates from your smile to your body with the calming effects of beneficial mood chemicals that contribute to positive thinking and an open mind. Smiling, you are ready to consider the issue from all sides without judgment.
Smiling truly is contagious. Studies indicate that up to 50% of people respond to a smile from you with a smile of their own.
Further, others feel that you have empathy and compassion when you meet them with a smile. Perhaps most importantly, social research shows that people with smiles are seen as more confident and even more attractive than those with a stern look on their face.
Put Your Best Smile Forward
If anything has you feeling awkward or uneasy with your smile, know that you don’t have to be left out of the health benefits of smiling. A happy, healthy, and attractive smile will help you feel better and look better every time you use it.