6 Incredible Benefits of Smiling Supported by Science

The benefits of smiling are both physical and mental and are given at work, general life and in children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

Benefits of smiling the smile is a communicative facial gesture that consists of raising the ends of the mouth slightly, as if you were laughing but not making noise.

Benefits of smiling

Benefits of smiling Through the smile shows and transmits many feelings, emotions and attitudes, such as: joy, happiness, pleasure, satisfaction, well-being, trust, gratitude, predisposition towards others…

According to the Spanish philosopher and pedagogue José Antonio Marina, benefits of smiling “the smile is an expressive sign of well-being that fosters sociability and favors communication between people. This gesture shows that the other person is kindly welcomed and that there is a willingness to communicate. “

Within what is the smile we can find many different types, for example the genuine smile, the false smile, the false smile, the cruel smile, the mocking smile, the fearful, the sad, the distant…

How many smiles are you able to identify in yourself? And in the others?

According to psychologist Paul Ekman , expert in the study of emotions and facial expressions, there are 18 different types of smiles that come from the  combination of 15 facial muscles.

Throughout this article I will refer to the genuine smile, also called the Duchenne smile, that is, the one that appears in your face in  a spontaneous, sincere and natural way. Of all the smiles, this is the most powerful.

The difference between a genuine smile and a smile that is not, is that in the first are raised the tips of the mouth along with the cheeks and the famous crow’s feet are marked, while in the second only move the muscles of mouth.

This is the key to differentiate when someone is smiling to you sincerely and when not.

The smile is a basic expression in the human being common to all cultures and societies, that is to say, the smile is a universal gesture that we use all human beings to express the same: joy, happiness, satisfaction, enjoyment, well being…

Benefits of Smiling

Paul Ekman contributed to this discovery by showing that there were African tribes who smiled even though they had never had contact with the Western world  , and did so for reasons very similar to the rest of the world’s population.

Through advanced 3D technology, we have seen how developing fetuses smile in the womb, and this activity is maintained when they are born, especially while they sleep, at which time more smiles occur in newborns.

It is also known that babies who are born blind smile when they hear the voices of other people, so it can be said that the ability to smile is innate.

6 Benefits of Smiling for Health

  1. Smiling makes you happier.

When you smile, your brain releases endorphins , which are natural opioid substances produced by the Central Nervous System , which stimulate the  brain centers of pleasure and circulate through your body producing a series of benefits:

  • Act as a natural pain reliever decreasing body pain
  • Reduce Stress Level
  • Strengthen the Immune System
  • They help in the recovery of many diseases, both physical diseases and mental illnesses
  • Increase the sensation of pleasure and well-being
  • Improve mood
  • And increase the level of happiness

Endorphins are released when you exercise, when you have sex, when you are given a massage, when you are given a hug, when you sunbathe,  when you eat chocolate, when you listen to music, when you laugh and, of course, when you smile.

Many times the smile is the result of a previous state of well-being and happiness, that is, you feel good, you are happy, you smile and your brain rewards you for producing substances that make you even happier.

But other times you’re down, down, sad … and someone or something make you smile. Your brain will reward you in the same way as in the previous case, that is, the positive effects of smiling are the same regardless of whether you are happy or sad.

The same thing happens when you fake a smile, because the brain is not able to distinguish if that smile is natural or forced, so it releases endorphins in both cases.

As you can observe the act of smiling, your brain releases endorphins that make you happier, regardless of whether you smile when you are sad or when you are happy or if you smile naturally or forcefully.

Smiling makes you happier.

  1. It makes you feel better.

Smiling often has many beneficial effects that together make you feel good, that you feel better compared to people who do not smile so often.

Some of these beneficial effects are:

  • Reduces blood pressure, decreasing your chance of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems
  • Prevents depression and sadness
  • Generates positive and pleasurable moods
  • It favors the internal homeostasis, that is to say, the internal balance of your organism
  • Contribute to your health, both physical and mental
  • Improve your perception of your health
  • It makes you sleep better
  • Relax your muscles
  • Reduce tension
  • Exercise the body

You could say that smile is a natural medicine that improves health, and that is what Charles Darwin said: “Smiling makes us feel better.”

  1. Increases life expectancy

In 2010, a study was conducted at Wayne State University in Michigan, USA, whose aim was to find out if the width of a person’s smile is related to the number of years they live.

The study consisted of analyzing photographs of players from major US basketball leagues dating back to the 1950s along with their vital data.

The data they obtained was that the players who smiled in the photos lived an average of 80 years and those who did not lived a lower mean of 72.9 years.

Therefore, the researchers concluded that the breadth of a person’s smile can determine the amount of years they will live.

Although the results of this study have confirmed the hypothesis of the researchers, this does not mean that because a person smile more widely or more often will live longer years without a doubt.

But the fact of smiling together with all the benefits that derive from that act and that you have seen previously ( decreases the level of stress , improves the  immune system, prevents depression …) can contribute to live longer, better health and happier .

  1. Improve social relationships

When you smile you appear to be a closer, accessible, sociable, extroverted, friendly, trustworthy, generous, educated, positive person … who helps you to empathize, relate more easily to others and improve established bonds.

And is that the smile is contagious, so if you smile at someone, it is more likely that the person will return the smile, either consciously or unconsciously, which helps you to approach her.

As Goleman said: “Laughter may be the shortest distance between two brains, causing an uncontrollable contagion that establishes an immediate social bond.”

This contagion is produced by the effect of the mirror neurons, which are the causes that when observing a gesture or a behavior imitate it immediately.

When you smile at a person and he responds with another smile, you are bringing about positive changes in your emotional state, as we have seen earlier when talking about endorphins and the power of a smile to make someone feel better.

Throughout history, many studies and research on smile and social relations have been made. One of them revealed that people rely more on a stranger if he smiles than if he keeps his face serious.

Another study conducted at Harvard University showed that if a person is happy, there is a 25% more chance that people around him will get infected with their moods.

An investigation in Sweden revealed what I have already told you in this section, that when you see a person smiling you tend to smile too and you find it harder to frown or show angry gestures.

Also Read: Emotional Instability: Causes and How to Treat It

Smiles make it easier to start a conversation or a relationship with someone you do not know, you seem more empathetic and close,  relationships are more satisfying and pleasant, provoke positive feelings in others …

There is a Tibetan saying that sums up very well what I have just told you and says: “When you smile at life, half the smile is for your face and the other half for the face of the other person.”

Smiling brings you closer to others.

  1. Helps you achieve your goals

When you smile, the people around you perceive you as self-confident, competent, able to cope with problems and with good self-esteem, which can help you achieve those goals that you set for yourself .

For example, if you are a commercial and have to sell a product, the fact of smiling makes the customer more predisposed to listen to what you want to tell him.

The smile can also help you if you have a job interview, if you have to go to the bank to ask for a loan, if you have to ask someone a favor…

The act of smiling also helps with flirting, since people who smile convey greater self-confidence and are perceived as more attractive compared to those who do not.

And the smile attracts, which multiplies the chances of achieving your goals when it comes to convince someone.

Smiling helps you achieve your goals.

  1. Reduce stress level

As you know, when you smile your brain releases a series of substances very beneficial to your body.

Some of these substances, such as endorphins, improve mood and help lower stress-related hormones, such as cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine, leading to a decrease in the level of stress in the person. Smiling is a very effective anti-stress mechanism.

Curious facts about the smile

Such is the importance of smiling that since 1999 there is World Smile Day, which is celebrated on the first Friday in October, and for several years the UN ran rankings to measure the level of happiness.

In the last ranking Spain ranks # 36 out of 158 countries. In the first place is Switzerland.

If we talk about the number of smiles issued per country, the order changes. The United States is the one who smiles the most and Russia the least.

With respect to sex, women smile more often than men.

33% of adults smile more than twenty times a day, while 14% do it less than five times. This number is very low compared to children, who smile an average of 400 times a day.

As you can see the number of times a person smiles a day descends parallel to their growth, that is, the older you are the less you smile.

A recent study has shown that people, who inject botulinum substances around the eyes, are no longer able to smile genuinely, so they are more likely to become depressed.

Conversely, those people who inject these substances on the forehead to eliminate the wrinkles that form in that area, tend to be happier because they have lost the ability to frown.

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