I smile at everyone.
No matter what my mood is. No matter who the other person is. As I approach anyone in the street, or at the store, I smile and say hello.
I may look like the Joker. But it makes me feel good. And it creates a connection with a stranger who nine times out of ten will smile back.
I was suffering from anxiety when I met with a stress coach. In our time together he gave me many great tips. The one I have embraced is the one that is the easiest.
Why smile? I’m glad you ask.
But before we go through the many reasons — do me a favor. Smile now.
Don’t worry, who may be looking at you. Smiling at your phone or your laptop.
OK? Let’s go.
1. Smiling Makes You Healthy
What we think about a situation affects the emotion that we feel, which in turn dictates the hormones and chemicals that get released into the body, which then has a knock-on effect on our bodily functions.
So if we are thinking negative thoughts- “I can’t believe this has happened to me, this is the worst thing ever, things suck”, then we may feel anger, annoyance, exasperation. These emotions release cortisol into the system. Cortisol lowers the production of lymphocytes, thus negatively affecting the immune system, which leaves the doors open for the disease to walk in.
Conversely having positive thoughts and smiling can give people more energy and help fight sickness. The body releases more white blood cells when smiling. And white blood cells protect our body against infections.
“What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity,” says Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist.
Side note: is that the first time you have ever seen the word, ENT-otolaryngologist. Handy word for Scrabble.
2. Smiling Makes You Attractive
Research in Switzerland shows that smiling makes you more attractive.
Think of all the advertisements you see for famous brands. The people in them are smiling. When a photo is taken — we always ask people to smile — so the memory is happy.
A smile is a natural draw for people — there is a real physical attraction factor linked to the act of smiling.
3. Smiling Makes Other People Smile
I promise if you smile at someone they will smile back. Not only do you feel better, but you will make the other person feel better.
That’s the benefit of the smile. You give one out, and you generally get one back. You are spreading joy. Everyone wins.
4. Smiling Makes You Feel Good
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. These make us feel good by elevating our mood.
Smiling is the best natural drug there is!
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Mother Teresa
5. Smiling Makes You Look Younger
Forget Botox — when we smile, we use muscles that lift our face — giving a more youthful appearance.
Dr Alex Jones, an expert in facial perception, said they had finally found scientific proof that ‘a smile really is the best accessory.’
He said using fad creams, and things like Botox were unnecessary because the secret to looking good is to appear naturally happy.
It will also make you feel younger. Children are happy. They also smile 400 times a day compared to the average adult who smiles twenty times a day.
Feel young. Look young!
6. Smiling is Universal
If you are in a foreign country and can’t speak the language- a smile will go a long way. It’s the universal sign of happiness.
Lost on the street? Needing help? Approaching a stranger with a smile is the best icebreaker possible. A smiling person is more approachable, considered more friendly.
I’ve met some great people on my travels by smiling.
7. Smiling Makes You More Successful
Research by the American Psychological Association showed the happier people were more successful. It wasn’t the success that made them happy; it was their happiness that led to success.
They found that a positive mindset increased productivity and helped build resilience in overcoming challenges.
You often hear sports people saying they played their best when they focused on the love of their sport. Getting back to why they played a particular game, made them happier, and ultimately got them better results.
8. Smiling is Free
The best things in life are free. It’s one of the best self-help techniques you can do, and it doesn’t cost a thing.
“A smile costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.” Dale Carnegie
9. Smiling Outwits the Brain
You thought your brain as the smartest part of you. Nope- its the smile!
You can get all these benefits above even if you are doing a fake smile. The brain doesn’t differentiate between a real smile and a fake smile. It interprets the use of the muscles in the same way.
So smile, and you can fool your brain.
It was amazing how implementing such a simple thing, helped with my anxiety. It certainly doesn’t eliminate it, but when I’m feeling down- I smile.
When I meet someone, I smile.
When I write. I smile.
When I read. I smile.
And hopefully, now you are smiling, reading this.
I told you it was contagious!