Smiling and laughing can have a positive effect on your well-being and this claim is backed up by a lot of scientific evidence. There are also a lot of studies which show that smiling can actually rewire your brain to create more positive patterns. If you choose to smile even when the times are rough, you will notice that happy changes will start to occur, both internally and externally. There are a lot of health benefits contributed to smiling and laughing and these simple and common human behaviors can have a positive effect on all the areas of your life. Here are 7 scientific reasons why you should smile more:
1. Smiling Makes You Happier
According to a lot of research, our facial expressions influence our feelings. For example, frowning induces greater negative feelings while smiling will reinforce feelings of happiness. There is a recent study performed at the University of Cardiff which shows that people whose frowns were inhibited by Botox injections were happier (on average) than the people who could frown.
2. You Will Be Perceived as More Likeable
Studies also show that smiling people are perceived as friendlier and more likeable. For example, a 2005 study found that the realness of a person’s smile enhanced perceptions of friendliness, which means that when people see a real smile, they see the person smiling as friendlier.
3. Even a Forced Smile Can Make You Feel Happy
A lot of studies show that smiling will improve your mood. With the enhancement of positive emotions and suppression of the negative ones with facial expressions, a person’s mood will tend to align with the emotion their face is communicating. There are studies that have found that even a fake smile can do the trick, since a forced smile can make you feel happy.
4. Smiling Helps Reduce Stress
Smiling will not only make you feel less anxious but it will even reduce stress. When you smile, your body releases endorphins and they are triggered by the movements of the muscles in your face. These neurotransmitters are responsible for making us feel happy and they also help lower stress levels by lowering the cortisol levels, the hormone which is more active when we feel stressed or anxious.
5. People Who Smile Are Perceived as Being More Competent
There are a lot of studies that suggest that when people smile, they are perceived as being more competent. It’s not really clear why this happens, but it’s related to the fact that smiling makes you seem more likeable. When someone is perceived as being friendlier, positive feelings are created, which leads to a greater satisfaction with the person who is smiling at you.
6. Smiling Improves Concentration
There are also studies which show that smiling improves people’s concentration by making them feel good, which leads to better focus. A 2010 study showed that the people who smiled the most also displayed increased “attentional breadth” (the size of your window of attention) and “attentional flexibility.”
7. Smiling Gives You Better Holistic Perception
In the same 2010 study, people who smiled also showed greater holistic perception, which is the ability to see the big picture rather than focusing on the details. Prior research showed that states of anxiety “narrow attentional focus by reducing the ability to process peripheral information.” The authors of the study encouraged people to “smile to see the forest,” because apparently the non-smilers can only see the trees.
People who smile are also considered more trustworthy since smiling is often perceived as a sign of cooperation. So, the next time you want to make a good impression, just try smiling. Do you know any other scientific reasons why people should smile more? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!