Just like eating your veggies and getting plenty of sleep, science says that smiling is good for your health too. If being happy and healthy is as easy as smiling more everyday, count us in!
People are prone to have a more positive outlook when they smile, so smiling is similar to putting on your rose-colored glasses. What’s more, behavioral mimicry, (when we subconsciously copy someone’s actions or mannerisms), ensures that your smile is literally contagious. People who see your smile will mirror your actions. This doesn’t work on everybody, but does have a significant effect. I’m the kind of person that smiles at everyone when I walk down the street or through the school hallways, and the amount of smiles I get in return are definitely worth the effort. You never know who is going to need that boost of positivity during their day!
2.) Smiling is a natural mood booster.
Save money and stop splurging on caffeine and detox products by relying on your own endorphins for a pick-me-up. Natural smiles which come from positive thoughts, (think Peter Pan’s “faith, trust, and pixie dust” strategy), release serotonin — a neurotransmitter that wards off depression — and other feel-good endorphins. This is an easy, natural stress buster. What’s better than that?
3.) Humans are more attracted to people who smile.
Smiling increases trust in relationships and increases the amount of attention people pay to you. Simply smiling can make you more appealing to potential friends, or that cute guy you’ve been eyeing who lives in your dorm. (Bonus: Smiling is much easier than nailing perfectly symmetrical winged-eyeliner, and just as effective for improving your appearance!)
4.) It increases productivity.
It can be hard to keep a smile on your face with meetings, homework and all of the other responsibilities that come along with being a college student. But having a “whistle while you work” attitude actually increases productivity and motivation. What’s more, slapping a grin on your face is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. By smiling and keeping a positive attitude, you can achieve a quick pick-me-up and actually be excited (no joke) for that crazy to-do list you have to work through.
5.) It’s proven that it makes you more confident.
Ever wonder why we smile in awkward situations, or when we are embarrassed? As it turns out, smiling is a reaction that helps you, and others, to feel more comfortable in these scenarios. The human brain is programmed to seek what is safe and familiar–not situations where we are the center of attention, uncomfortable, or trying something new. This study shows that smiling helps us to deal with awkward situations by making us more comfortable and confident. Other research has shown that smiling is a great leadership technique as well!
6.) Smiling is its own reward.
When we smile, there is a cycle of activity that occurs in the brain. In a positive situation, your brain first interprets the information it is taking from your environment before sending a signal to the brainstem, and the signal is then sent to the smiling muscles in your face (which doesn’t just mean the muscles around your mouth, but around your eyes as well!). When the smiling muscles are activated, a signal is sent back to the brain to tell it that you are feeling goood. This positive reaction is the same feedback we receive from eating a piece of chocolate or exercising. Smiling is an intrinsic behavior–something that we do for the sake of doing, without an external reward.