Smiling is something most people do without even thinking about it most of the time. You might smile at a familiar face, something that you find funny, or for no reason other than you’re in a good mood. There is actually more to smiling than just a reaction to your surroundings. Smiling can actually make you happier, healthier, relaxed, and much more!
Most people smile when they’re happy, but smiling also makes people happy. Your body knows that smiling is associated with happiness. Endorphins are released in your body when you smile. Endorphins are the chemicals in your body that make you feel happier. Smiling even if you don’t feel happy will make your mood happier to match your smile.
The same endorphins that make you happier can also make you less stressed. These endorphins spread around your body easing tension and acting as a natural pain killer for your body in any stressful situation. Smiling also reduces the activity of cortisol, a hormone that is more active when you are stressed. The less cortisol, the less negative feelings which means more positive feelings.
You’re more apt to work when you’re in a good mood. If you were in a bad mood and you needed to do something that wasn’t that enjoyable, you probably wouldn’t be as motivated as you would be in a good mood. We know now, smiling boosts your mood so smiling while working will make work more enjoyable for you.
Everyone wants to make the world a better place, so why not start with a smile? University of Wisconsin-Madison Ph.D. student in psychology, Adrienne Wood, studied the effects of smiling on other people. She concluded that sensorimotor simulation in our brains is what causes us to smile at other people that smile without even realizing it. The researchers concluded that we trigger the same emotional state in ourselves as the person we are mimicking, which allows us to make an appropriate social response.
Imagine you’re on a street with vendors on it. One looks bored and uninterested while the other is making eye-contact and smiling; which one do you think you would go to? It goes without saying you would be more attracted to do business with the one that is smiling and looks happy. If you smile, other people are more likely to trust you because trust and happiness are usually related.
Although there are many reasons to smile, perhaps Mother Teresa said it best:
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”