‘Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing’ – Mother Teresa
Smile! Just seeing the word makes me feel happier! I love to smile and, just like laughing, I try to do it as much as possible. It makes me feel so much better about everything. No matter what is going on in the world or in your life, if you can smile, you will feel a whole lot better.
Fake it until you make it!
Don’t feel in the mood to smile? Did you know that you can fake a smile and still feel happier?! It has actually been proven that, whether a smile is genuine or not, it can bring all sorts of benefits for your health and your mood. Just like we talked about in my earlier post on laughter https://wordpress.com/post/happyhealthymeajourney.com/177
Of course, a genuine smile is best but if you really can’t find something to smile about, then try faking it! It has to be as close to the real thing as possible though! Show your teeth and make sure the smile reaches your eyes. You’ll feel your cheeks lift and the corners of your eyes will crinkle slightly.
What kind of benefits does smiling bring?
Having a happy, positive mood is good for us in more ways than one and some of them might not be obvious!
1. Smiling helps you live longer! Various studies have shown that smiling is associated with a longer life. This is largely due to the fact that happy people tend to have more friends, eat better and exercise more so enjoy better health which results in a longer, healthier, life.
2. Smiling, whether real or fake, helps reduce stress. Your brain can’t actually tell the difference so, when you smile, the signal that goes to your brain is ‘I am happy, life is good’. Reduced stress levels have a whole host of benefits, including decreasing inflammation, which can help to prevent some really serious illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.
3. It boosts your immune system. Your immune system works much better when you are relaxed so, by smiling and reducing cortisol levels, you boost your overall health. The opposite is also true – tense, stressed, unhappy or negative people usually have a much lower immune system and tend to be ill more often.
4. Smiling can lower blood pressure. Not such a good thing for me as I have low blood pressure anyway, but for many of us reducing our blood pressure brings big benefits to our health and can actually help us to live longer. When you smile or laugh there will be an immediate increase in heart rate and oxygen consumption which is followed by your muscles relaxing, your heart rate decreasing and your blood pressure dropping. The benefits will last for a while.
5. It says a lot about you. A warm genuine smile makes a great first impression. It puts the other person at ease and conversation will naturally flow. It also shows confidence even if you’re not feeling it. So next time you have a job interview or you’re meeting someone for the first time, try smiling!
6. Smiling is a natural painkiller. Every time we smile or laugh we release endorphins, dopamine and serotonin which reduce physical pain by helping us to feel good.
7. It makes you more attractive! Imagine being at a party where you don’t know anyone. Who are you going to talk to? The person who is frowning or looking bored or the person who is smiling and looks happy and welcoming? Smiling even uses facial muscles which lift the face making you look younger! I love the Bob Marley quote ‘A smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body’!
Smiling is a gift
Just like Mother Teresa says in the quote at the top of the post, smiling at someone else is a gift. When someone smiles at us, our brain says we have received a reward which generates positive feelings. So keep gifting smiles! They’re free and you’ll never run out of them! They don’t require wrapping or tedious trips to the shops. There are no downsides to gifting a smile. Not only will it bring you the benefits of smiling it will give the recipient a lovely boost too.
A smile is infectious so if you smile at someone, the chances are, not only will they smile back, but they will go on to smile at someone else and it creates a chain reaction. Just imagine, if we all smiled at a stranger every day, just think how many more people would receive all those amazing benefits!
No prizes for guessing the tiny tweak this week! A smile takes a second, you can even do it while you do something else (I’m smiling while I write this post!) so lets all smile as much as we possibly can and see if it makes a difference to how we’re feeling. Smile at the person you pass in the street, fake a smile when you’re feeling low or bored. However you do it, smile!!
Until next time xx
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