You may have heard that if you turn your frown upside down, you're likely to be happier. That's right--smile, and the bubbly feeling of happiness will follow. Did you know that the benefits of smiling don't just affect you? When you smile, you make others feel more joyful too.
Smiling is Contagious
Research shows that when you see someone smile, the area in your brain that controls your facial muscles responds by copying the expression. When you smile, others are likely to do the same, even if they're not feeling particularly happy at that moment.
Smiling Makes You Feel Good
When you smile, you release endorphins, chemicals in the brain that help lessen pain, reduce your fight-or-flight response in adrenaline-producing situations, and relieve anxiety. Your smile doesn't have to be authentic, either. As long as your facial muscles are pulling your mouth into a grin, you're releasing endorphins. If that smile is rubbing off on other people, you're helping them feel less stressed too.
Smiling Helps You Get Away With More
If you've done something wrong, smile. Experts say that when people have broken rules, they are likely to be punished less harshly if they smile. That's because smiling makes you appear more trustworthy. Not that we're trying to tell you how to be sneaky. But just in case...
Smiling Makes You Think Better
When you're nervous or anxious, it's hard to think clearly. You tend to get fixated on a particular idea, and it can be difficult to step back and come up with a solution. The results of this study show that you can think more clearly and comprehensively when you smile. Imagine how much would get accomplished in the world if everyone just smiled a little more.
Next time you're in a bad mood, in trouble or just trying to come up with a solution to a problem, smile. You'll transform your own attitude. The best part is that the benefits of smiling will affect everyone who sees your happy face. Try smiling at a stranger today. You'll help make the world a better place.