At the mere suggestion of a smile, most people can’t help themselves; they break into a grin, its human nature. We as humans are programmed to smile. There’s evidence that we smile even before we are born.
There are countless studies that show the impact of smiling on success, happiness, well-being, health and even on how long we will live. Studies of high school yearbook photos show a direct correlation to how fulfilling and long lasting an individual’s marriage will be, how highly they will score on standardized tests of well-being and general happiness, and how inspiring they will be to others. The widest smiles consistently ranked highest in all of the above.
Studies of baseball card photos found that the span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life! Players with a beaming smile lived an average of 7 years longer.
Smiling can positively impact almost any social situation. Smiling is not just a universal means of communicating; it’s also a frequent one. On average, 32% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% of us smile fewer than 5 times a day. The overachievers in this category are actually children, who smile as many as 400 times per day!
A study confirmed that other people’s smiles actually suppress the control we usually have over our facial muscles, compelling us to smile. They also showed that it’s very difficult to frown when looking at someone who smiles. Why? Because smiling is evolutionarily contagious and we have a subconscious, innate drive to smile when we see one. This occurs even among strangers when we have no intention to connect or affiliate with the other person.
The act of smiling actually makes us feel better, rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good. Instead, our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile! Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate can’t match. Smiling has documented therapeutic benefits as well.
If that’s not enough, smiling also makes us look good in the eyes of others. Another study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.
So now, whenever you want to look great, improve your marriage, reduce your stress, feel as good as when you enjoyed a delicious chocolate bar, or whenever you want to tap into a superpower and help yourself and others live longer, healthier, happier lives … SMILE 🙂
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