A smile is a type of facial expression that is created when you flex the muscles at the sides of your mouth. It is an expression that often symbolizes feelings of happiness, amusement, pleasure etc.
Among human interactions, a pleasant smile is also associated with the highest positive emotional content. Most of us smile more than 20 times a day!
Fun fact: Children can smile up to 400 times in a day. Imagine the joy and happiness they feel!
The Science Behind a Smile
An experiment was conducted by Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman on 169 participants where the participants were divided into three groups, each instructed to hold a different facial expression through the placements of chopsticks in their mouths, while performing highly stressful tasks.
One group was told to put hold a neutral expression on the face, while the other two were told to engage in a standard smile and a Duchenne smile. The use of chopsticks was a clever tool to force the participants to smile without them actually being aware of it.
Conclusion of the study?
Smiling stimulates the production of endorphins.
The results of the study show that smiling can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, (nice!) regardless of whether a person actually feels happy. (say what?!)
So what exactly is happening in our brains when we let out a smile? When we encounter a pleasant experience (eg. watching a funny video), our brain releases endorphins and neuronal signals are transmitted to our facial muscles. This will trigger a smile, which also starts the positive cycle of happiness in our brain as more endorphins are produced.
Basically, if you want to feel happy, just smile. The positive feedback loop of smiling ensure that we can alter our brain’s emotional processing pathway to feel happier with a simple smile.
Smile To Build Relationships
From a psychological viewpoint, someone who smiles more often tends to look friendlier and more approachable than a person who is not smiling. There is also research to suggest that there is a positive relationship between the intensity of the smile and a perceived level of integrity and reliability. If your job involves meeting clients and interacting with them, smiling genuinely may be the key to creating a good first impression and fostering a good relationship with the customer.
Smile To Spread Positivity and Reduce Stress
Smiling, like laughing, is extremely contagious and you will be surprised at how easy it is for a person’s smile to affect you and the rest of the people around you. Smile more and people around you will feel happier and also want to hang out with you (Maybe that is why we love being around babies and cheerful children).
Smiles Are Free
Last of all, smiling is free. Smiles cost absolutely nothing to give but could mean the world for someone who is going through a tough time. Make someone’s day by smiling and you could make yourself even happier and by the law of attraction, attract the most amazing and positive experiences in your life.