What happens when you encounter a good friend on the street? Your first reaction is probably to smile. But what is the science behind that smile?
When you see your friend, neuronal signals travel from the cortex of your brain to the brain-stem. From there, the cranial muscle carries the signal further towards the smiling muscles in your face. Once the smiling muscles in your face contract, there is a positive feedback loop that now goes back to the brain and reinforces your feeling of joy.
Very simply, smiling makes you feel good. More than just contracting the muscles in your face, it helps to generate positive emotions within you. Smiling also reduces the stress that your body and mind feel, almost similar to getting a good night’s sleep.
Smile And The World Smiles With You
So the more you smile, the better you’ll feel. And funny enough … other people around you will feel better too if they start smiling more as well.
Smiling helps you create a more positive outlook on life, which in turn can lead to more success at work, better results with your studies, less stress, better health, and more satisfaction in relationships. All good stuff… which should give you plenty to smile about.
Ten Surprising Facts About Smiling:
- We often feel happier around children because they smile more (on average 400x a day compared to normal happy people who smile 40 – 50 x a day.)
- Women smile more than men.
- Newborns are able to smile. Babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they are born.
- Smiling releases endorphins. Research shows that the simple act of turning your mouth up, whether authentic or not, can help release endorphins, feel-good hormones. Serotonin, a chemical that’s a natural stress-reducer.
- Smiling is contagious. People tend to smile more when surrounded by people than alone.
- Smiling when you talk on the phone makes you sound friendlier – it translates into your voice to make you sound happy and engaging.
- Smiling actually boosts your immune system and can help you live 7 years longer on average.
- Smile a lot and you’re more likely to get promoted at work. People who smile frequently are thought to be more confident and sociable, making them better candidates to move up in the workplace.
- There are 19 types of smiles. Researchers were able to categorize 19 different types of smiles into two categories: polite, “social” smiles and those that were genuinely happy smiles. Among the list is the “embarrassed” smile, “genuine” smile and “loving” smile.
- Smiling is a universal sign of happiness. Language may be a barrier, but facial expressions like the smile, pass through anywhere you travel.
Seeing as it only takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown, wouldn’t you rather smile? Go ahead. Flash a big smile and feel good!
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