Smile…You’ll Live Longer!

Scaling / July 3, 2013 / Kristie

There’s something that McDonald’s started giving out for free, and that every business could benefit from if they gave more away…and that is smiles! Something as small and simple as a smile can enhance your day as well as anyone you come in contact with. I recently interviewed Daylite user Libby Flores, who said that the best advice she ever received was “if you smile when you talk, it makes everything that much easier.” That advice struck me as being so simple, yet so powerful when you consider the effect your mood has on everyone and everything around you. It inspired me to dig a little deeper and find out the science behind a smile. Why does a smile have such a positive effect?

I found the answer in a blog titled There’s Magic In your Smile published by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. written by guest blogger Sarah Stevenson who has a degree in Behavioral Psychology and teaches yoga classes and life affirming workshops in Southern California.

Stevenson describes the positive effects of smiling including that it can lengthen your life, and explains how smiling affects your brain, your body, and those around you.

Smiling affects your brain by causing it to release dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. Stevenson describes these as  “feel good neurotransmitters” that send positive messages through the brain and make you feel happy. The release of these neutrotransmitters can also cause you to feel more relaxed and even lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Whenever I’m feeling stressed and need to stop and take a deep breath, I find myself smiling and sometimes that’s all it takes to star to calm down.

Smiling affects your body by making you look better. Stevenson explains that a person is viewed as more attractive when they smile, because when you view someone smiling, it activates part of your brain that processes sensory reward. This means that when you look at someone who is smiling, you feel rewarded. There’s no better reward than the ones you can’t put a price tag on!

Ever notice how when you smile at someone they smile back? Sure, it could be because they’re trying to be polite, or because they’re laughing at you for having something stuck in your teeth. But it goes a little deeper than that. Smiling has been scientifically proven to be contagious. Stevenson describes how our brains unconsciously mimic facial expressions that we see. I guess that’s why the statement is true that “when you smile, the whole world is smiling too!”

So the next time you’re feeling bombarded with stress, just take a minute and remember to smile. It will help you feel more relaxed so you can think of a solution. You’ll also remind others to do the same, and they will thank you with a smile. 🙂

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