Power Of A Smile

It’s so important to smile (but not in a creepy way)

Why? 

Scientists say we actually feel better when we smile. Try it, go on really smile. Look at a beautiful flower, think of a great place or something amazing you did that really made you smile (possibly best if you keep the last one to yourself). Go on smile – If you are you should be getting a warm glow.

It makes us feel better 

Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are released which relaxes us, reducing heart rate and blood pressure. Endorphins are natural painkillers so if we can be gracious and smile when in pain it helps. If I’m suffering on an ultra-distance run (which I usually am) I think of something that makes me smile. It helps; you feel better and it gets you to the end, then you’ll smile even more when you cross the finish line.

It’s good for our health and relationships

This chemical release improves mood overcoming anxiety and depression. It relieves stress, boosts the immune system, reduces heart rate and blood pressure and also relieves pain. Studies show people who smile live longer (US study of a football team photo showed those with a happy smile lived 7 years longer). According to studies smiling also makes us look younger, thinner and more attractive. Smiling makes us seem courteous, likeable and competent and releases more feel-good chemicals in our body than chocolate. It’s also infectious.  The 9 Superpowers of Your Smile

Is all smiling good?

Don’t think so. Most of us have been on the receiving end of a sarcastic smile or a controlling smile when someone’s displeased with us. Here are the types of smile to avoid: insincere, creepy, controlling, bullying, smug and psycho. In the movie The Shining, Jack Nicholson axes through a door, smiles and says ‘Wendy I’m home’ giving an example of a psycho smile that’s not good. (Yes, you can Google it and try not to do one).  Psychology of Smiling: can you tell a fake smile from a genuine one?

What’s behind the smile? 

Most of us can tell a genuine smile, or can we? The best thing to have behind a smile is a thankful heart and an I’m ok you’re ok attitude.  The human being can’t be in two conflicting emotional states so if we feel down, make a conscious effort to smile and put on a happy face we’ll actually feel happier. People with a pencil between their teeth, forcing their lips into a smile, actually feel better.

We get back what we give out

When talking to someone who was having a tough time they frowned and said ‘Wherever I go people look miserable. That’s the way the world is.’  We did some work on getting them to focus on a happy state, sing their happy song and smile more. A week later they phoned and said ‘Wherever I go people smile and my world’s so much better’. What goes around comes around. Just as kindness and courtesy cost us nothing having a generous accepting view of the world in which we smile and spread some sunshine is important (unless you’re standing next to a psycho- in which case move) and it’ll almost certainly be reflected back in far great quantity.

Further reading:

There’s Magic in Your Smile

Benefits of smiling

The Power of Smiling: 7 Health Benefits of Smiling

The Power of a Smile