Updated: Sep 4
✨Smiling makes you more attractive.
✨It lifts your mood and the mood of everyone around you.
✨It is infectious.
✨It can even help you live longer.
Did you know that we’re actually born smiling? Ultrasounds have found babies to be smiling in the womb. Once babies are born, they continue to spend most of their time smiling; especially in their sleep. As we get older and life gets in the way, we forget to smile, so I've done some research that will hopefully convince you to smile a little more.
Effects on the brain:
What: Smiling relaxes your body, whilst working to lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
How: When smiles flash across our faces, neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress are released. These neuropeptides are used to communicate each of our emotions. Neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are also released into your bloodstream, making not only your body relax but also work to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Dopamine is a complex hormone that is thought to be responsible for anticipated pleasure, motivation and reward behaviour, endorphins are natural painkillers and serotonin are natural anti-depressants. Through smiling, all of which are provided solely by our bodies without the negative side effects from pharmaceutical medication.
Effects on the body:
What: When we smile, we're actually more attractive and people treat us differently. We can be seen as more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere.
How: Subjects in a Scottish study were asked to rate attractiveness. They found that both men and women were more attracted to images of people smiling and making eye contact, than those who did not. Scientists also found that seeing an attractive smiling face activates our orbitofrontal cortex. This is the region in our brain that processes sensory rewards, suggesting that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel that you’re being rewarded.
Effects to others:
What: Smiling is infectious, because the part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expression of smiling when happy or mimicking another person’s smile is located in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area.
How: The part of our brain that is responsible for our facial expression, of smiling when we're happy and/or mimicking another’s smile is in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. In a Swedish study, subjects were shown pictures of different individuals expressing a variety of facial expressions. In each, the subjects were asked to frown when shown a smiling person. Instead, as you might have already guessed, participants instantly mimicked the facial expression they were given rather than keeping the frown they were asked to maintain.
When smiling at somebody else, we create a symbiotic relationship that allows us to release feel-good chemicals in our brains, activate reward centres, make both us more attractive, and increase the chances of us both living longer and healthier lives.
Now tell me you don't want to smile more?