What is it about a smile? Smiling is a universally recognized gesture that creates positive emotions, not only in the person receiving the smile, but also in the person smiling. When others smile at us, we feel connected to them and we see them as human. When we smile at others, it helps lower our defenses. And let’s face it, when we smile it just feels good!
Have you ever wondered why it feels so good to smile? It turns out there has been a lot of research around that very question. What exactly happens when we smile? For example, if you see someone you love across the room that you haven’t seen in many years, your brain sends a message to the muscles in your face that cause you to smile. But there’s more to it than that. There is a positive feedback loop created when the smiling muscles in our face contract. That muscle contraction loops back to the brain and causes us to feel joy. In short, when our brain feels good and tells us to smile, we smile and tell our brain it feels good. And the loop goes on and on…
Sounds good, right? It turns out that scientists have noted even more benefits to smiling. Here are some additional reasons why smiling is good for us:
- Smiling brings a variety of health benefits. Common ones include: reduced anxiety, stress relief, lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
- Smiling triggers our brain’s reward mechanism, producing endorphins causing us to experience pleasure.
- Smiling causes positive emotions that are similar to those you feel when finding unexpected money.
Did you know that children smile more than adults? That’s why we feel happier when we are around children – they smile more. Children smile an average of 400 times a day, while the average adult only smiles 20 times a day. Knowing what we just learned about the health benefits of smiling, doesn’t that make you want to smile more?
So keep smiling!