Sounds silly, but it’s true: smiling is a superpower we each possess and many of us don’t realize. The most uniformly understood way of expressing joy and satisfaction, we begin smiling even before we’re born. As babies we do it in our sleep, and as children we smile as many as 400 times a day. Thankfully, many adults remain regular smilers, with 33% of us smiling 20 times or more each day. The more often we smile, the more we enjoy the wonderful benefits of showing our pearly whites. Fun facts about smiling:
1. It’s contagious. It’s very hard to frown when you’re surrounded by smiles. Try spending even a short amount of time with joyful children, and you’ll find it nearly impossible not to smile. Smiling benefits you as well and those around, who will feel your positive energy, and reflect it with their own smile.
2. Better than chocolate. One smile produces the same brain stimulation as up to 2000 bars of chocolate (for those who love chocolate). So without all the calories, our brains are naturally wired to experience great joy from the experience of a smile.
3. Fake smiles work too. As Darwin notes in his facial feedback response theory, the sheer movement of our facial muscles into a smile boosts our mood – regardless of whether or not the movement is forced. (Granted, a real one is more enjoyable!)
3 More Reasons To Smile:
- It decreases stress-inducing hormones (like cortisol & adrenaline).
- It increases mood-enhancing hormones (endorphins).
- It reduces blood pressure.
Ron Gutman also mentions in his Ted Talk that smiling will not only make you and those around you feel better; you will also be perceived by others as more likeable and more competent as a result of your smile.
Various other interesting studies have been performed about the hidden power of a smile. At UC Berkeley, researchers discovered they were able to predict one’s overall wellbeing in life, as well as their ability to inspire others by examining their old yearbook photos. In 2010, a study of pre-1950 baseball cards revealed that photos of players with beaming smiles indicated the likelihood of a much longer and happier life than those who not smiling.
It’s happened to each of us: someone smiles at you, and you naturally return it. Instantly, you feel better than you did just before. There’s no obvious reason, other than that you’re enjoying a shared happy moment. You, then share your smile with whomever else happens to see you, and whoever does repeats the pattern (and so on). Just imagine what would happen if we each smiled even a tiny bit more — the results could be phenomenal for everyone. It’s a win-win-win!
Excellent Ted Talk about smiling, by Ron Gutman: https://goo.gl/qdlwOv
* Song to get you ‘Happy’: