Great Reasons You Should Smile

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Post written by Sarah Stevenson.

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.

– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

When Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy,” he knew what he was talking about. Scientists and spiritual teachers agree that a simple smile can transform you and the world around you. A 2009 British study showed that people whose ability to frown is compromised by Botox tended to be happier, on average, than people who could still frown. Smiles are contagious, they make us more attractive, they lift our mood and those that see us, and it can even lengthen our lives.

My smile is one of my biggest assets. It has opened doors for me both literally and metaphorically speaking. I have had so many green teas comped from servers as a reward for always making them smile – and in turn they have made others smile. I have met so many people simply by showing them my pearly whites – and my spirits are constantly lifted by reciprocal smiles each and every day. But free cups of jasmine tea and new friends aren’t the only reasons to smile. Here are a few more.

  • Smiling is a stress reliever: When you’re focused on stressful negative thoughts, chemicals that compromise your immunity are released. On the flip side, positive thoughts that make you smile release neuropeptides that fight off stress and sometimes even physical illness.
  • Smiling is contagious: Researchers in Sweden believe your unconscious mind takes direct control of your facial muscles. They conducted a study in which participants were shown pictures then asked to make the opposite expression. They found that the facial expressions went directly to imitation of what they saw and it took conscious effort to switch a smile to a frown. So when you smile at someone, they can’t help themselves.
  • Smiling Makes You Money: There was a study conducted with servers. They polled the amount of drinks ordered from broad smiling servers compared with minimal smiling servers. The broad smileys did indeed reap more money than the minimal ones.
  • Smiling serves as a painkiller: When you smile your body produces endorphins, the feel good neurotransmitter that also serves as a natural pain reliever. It is 100% organic and is a better painkiller than any synthetic concoction with 0 side effects. So grandma was right, “Smile, it makes you feel better.”
  • Smiling makes you more attractive: A study on smiling was conducted in 2011 by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. They found that both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled than to those who did not.
  • Smiling lifts your mood: You release serotonin in your system each time you smile. Serotonin is found in today’s antidepressants. So you could say that you have a natural antidepressant maker available to you 24/7.
  • Smiling lowers blood pressure: Studies show that smiling lowers your blood pressure. It’s intuitive to want to try to help an anxious person relax. Sometimes, all they need is a joke or a hug. Help someone relax today, make them smile.
  • Smiling helps you appear confident: When you smile people treat you differently. You are viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Studies show that companies get more business when they hire people who smile often.

When I don’t feel like smiling, I always think back to a time when I was late to a very serious meeting. I ever so quietly tiptoed in and noticed there were no seats left. So I decided to just hop onto a table, at which point the table buckled. I slid down, followed by an assortment of coffees, teas, and waters. Needless to say, it ruined everyone’s pointed attention and I earned some seriously dirty looks. But today, it just makes me laugh whenever I think about it. Priceless, I tell ya. Light up your face with gladness friends. Begin to take notice how incredibly empowering a simple smile can be. Smile and the world smiles back. Savor the moments that bring you a smile and surround yourself with smilers, you will be so glad you did.

Can you think of 5 things you can do to make someone smile today?

Sarah Stevenson, a.k.a., The Tini Yogini, is a Certified Yoga Instructor in Southern California. She has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches not only yoga classes but also life affirming workshops. She also writes for Beachbody, which provides effective and popular workout videos, including the Insanity Workout, a high intensity interval training program for total body conditioning.

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