There’s nothing better than seeing someone burst into a giant grin when something has sparked joy or that feeling of a genuine laugh. While we often think of smiling as a side effect of feeling positive emotions, it’s so much more than that, whether we consciously or unconsciously show a smile. Smiling has been proven to have all kinds of positive effects on mood, health and socially. So, how does smiling really boost your mood?
Just like having sex, exercising or eating a good piece of dark chocolate, smiling releases endorphins. Smiling can also trigger the release of serotonin and our natural painkillers which can not only help relieve pain but give us an overall sense of wellbeing.
The endorphins released from smiling can also contribute to stress relief which in turn boosts your mood. In fact, while more research is needed, it’s been shown that smiling can help us recover from the effects of stress more quickly in addition to helping lower heart rate and blood pressure. With stress being a significant menace to our health outcomes this means that not only can showing your pearly whites help combat those feelings of stress, but it has a number of other positive health benefits too!
Like yawning, smiling is contagious! It’s hard not to crack a smile when a stranger walks past and gives you a smirk, or your friend is genuinely ecstatic about something. The good news is that we get similar positive effects when we witness someone else smiling, than when we smile ourselves. Smiling is not only a reward for your own wellbeing, it triggers those same reward centers in those around you, giving you even more reason to smile!
If you struggle with feeling confident about your smile, you don’t need to be without the benefits. Consider speaking to a professional like Dr. Mansbridge about your concerns and you’ll be sharing that smile with others in no time!
Helps You Stay Positive
It’s no secret that we’re drawn more to people that smile than those that show a frown or scowl. Smiling in general is known to be a very attractive quality that we pay attention to when choosing a mate or deciding to engage in a social interaction. Overall, smiling gives us the feeling that the person has a generally positive demeanour, and will uplift us instead of requiring a lot of emotional energy on our part.
Not only does the smile of others give off a positive impression, but smiling helps us stay positive too. Once you’re smiling, it makes those negative thoughts just a little bit harder to penetrate your positive affect. Luckily, even a forced smile can have these same effects, so if you find yourself feeling down, or facing a negative thought, put a smile on and feel your mood shift.
Body language means a lot, and facial expressions are an important part of that. Smiling regularly can help you come across as more confident, competent, and ultimately successful. Projecting those feelings to others by smiling can help shift your mood because it helps improve the confidence and mood of those around you. Smiling is just a big circle of happiness and the best part? There’s nothing to lose!
Boosts Your Immunity, Not Just Your Mood
Everyone always says that laughter is the best medicine and that positivity allows for better and faster recovery, and there seems to be some truth to that! Laughter starts with a smile, and it’s been shown that laughter can increase immune-fighting antibodies, improving our response to illnesses. Approaching illness or recovery from injury or surgery with humor can lead to a better outcome due to the increase in these immune-fighting and infection-fighting cells. Even more reason to spend time binge-watching your favorite comedy on Netflix next time you’re recovering from a cold!
Smiling is a real powerhouse. There are not many things out there that can simultaneously boost your mood and those around you while also influencing the way others positively view you. While there’s more research to be done, what has been proven shows promising results for the mood-boosting effects that a simple smile can have – forced or not. So the next time you’re veering towards the negative, or pass a stranger in the street, put on a smile and enjoy the rush of endorphins!
 Pressman SD, Acevedo AM, Hammond KV, Kraft-Feil TL. Smile (Or grimace) through the pain? The effects of experimentally manipulated facial expressions on needle-injection responses. Emotion. Published online November 23, 2020. doi:10.1037/emo0000913