They say a smile is worth a thousand words. Well, I’m going to condense it into 500 or so for the sake of time and space, but the value of a smile should never be diminished. Each week I discuss various ways to improve your health and/or appearance. This week I’d like to shed some light on the fastest and least expensive way to improve your appearance: simply smile.
Smiles warm the heart, bring joy and are understood in every language. In American culture a smile is a sign of happiness. The best thing about smiles is they don’t cost anything. We can freely exchange them with each other and never run out of smiles to give. And I’ve never heard anyone complain about being the recipient of too many smiles.
A smile received from a perfect stranger might be just what you needed to brighten your day. A free smile given to another might be the best gift you can give. A genuine smile can shift a sad heart to a happy heart. Even a forced smile can trick your own brain into thinking it’s happy, even if you’ve been feeling negative. Try it for yourself! Pick a time when you aren’t feeling particularly happy, and just smile. At first you might feel a bit foolish, wearing a forced grin from ear to ear, but then suddenly it becomes less forced. Then before you know it, you may be beaming a genuine smile and maybe even expressing a little laughter.
Scientists suggest the reason even a forced smile brings genuine joy is because it tricks the brain. When the muscles creating the smile are exercised, it signals the brain that a joyful experience is taking place. The brain is then basically tricked into believing it is happy. I for one, would rather be fooled into happiness than be stuck in an unnecessary state of sorrow. So, next time you’re feeling blue, take the smile challenge and see if your mood isn’t tricked into joy.
Smiles ease stress. Smiles often lead to laughter and laughter releases positive endorphins in the brain. Smiles create unity and ease the pain of awkward situations. Smiles create a sense of belonging. Smiles inspire. There are no studies that say humans should smile less. Smiling is not a health risk and in fact, smiles may improve the immune system.
So, you may not like your smile. Maybe your teeth aren’t perfect. Maybe you’re shy. Simply turning up the corners of your mouth without bearing teeth is still smiling. We can even smile with our eyes. Wearing a welcoming, joyful expression makes you appear more pleasant and may even help bring more personal success by building positive relationship experiences. Focusing on reasons to smile is healthier than focusing on reasons to frown. So use less muscles, earn less frown lines, improve your mood and simply smile. If you’re alive and reading this article, I’d say there’s two good reasons to start smiling right now. Say cheese!