The Power of a Smile
Benefits of smiling
The benefits of smiling are so much more than just showing emotion, kindness or encouragement. Smiling can have a powerful impact physiologically on the one smiling and the receiver as well.
Duchenne smiles are the most powerful of smiles. A duchenne smile is a true smile - where the muscles around the eyes are engaged. Although even a fake smile can help improve your mood, a duchenne smile has the greatest physiological effect on your body.
Smiling releases feel-good neurotransmitters and endorphins - The release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, helps elevate your mood when you smile. Smiling also releases endorphins, which are natural pain killers, so smiling can help relieve pain. A smile also decreases stress hormones, which in turn, can help boost immunity.
Smiling lowers blood pressure - There have been scientific studies indicating that smiling can help lower your blood pressure.
Smile for a younger appearance – Smiling works certain muscles in the face, which can help us to appear younger.
Smiles are contagious – Not only will your smile benefit you, but studies have shown that smiles are contagious and can have a positive effect on others as well.
A smile can improve someone’s day – How many times have you smiled at someone who you could tell was having a bad day and their mood improved upon seeing your smile? On the flip side, how many times has someone’s smile helped improved your own bad mood? I know seeing someone else smile has improved some grim moods of my own.
This will help crack a smile
Just for fun
In one of my psychology classes, my professor had us do an interesting experiment that showed us just how a smile can have an effect on us. Upon trying it, I found that it was interesting, funny, and the results were surprising. Try the following experiment on yourself and others. If you try it on others, don't tell them why you're having them do it until they've completed the experiment.
- Pen or pencil
- Funny comic strip
Here's how it works:
- Take the pen or pencil and hold it in place with your lips. The pen should be facing outward, in front of you. Holding the pen in your lips like this will cause a frown.
- Read the comic strip you have selected.
- Now take the pen and put it lengthwise between your teeth so that it causes you to smile. Each end of the pen should be in front of your ears, so the pencil is running lengthwise with your mouth.
- Read the same comic strip again.
Did you find that the comic strip was funnier when you were smiling? When we tested this in psychology class, it was found that most people thought the comic strip was much funnier when read while smiling. One person I tested it on didn't think the comic strip was funny at all until they read it while smiling. They laughed out loud while reading the comic strip when smiling.