Amazing Kids! Magazine

Smile! You’ll be Happy You Did!

By Ryan Traynor, Contributing Writer


Have you ever noticed when you’re in a bad mood, all you have to do is smile and you start to feel better?  Smiles are about more than being happy. They send messages to other people about how you feel. Not only are smiles a communication tool, but smiling has many benefits that can make you a better you! Let’s explore them.

1. A smile can help to get others to trust you.

Genuine smiles send a message that other people can trust and cooperate with you. According to a study, people who smile are rated higher in both generosity and extraversion and when people share with each other they tend to display genuine smiles.[1]  Another study found that a smile increased people’s willingness to trust by about 10%.[2]

2. A smile helps you get treated better if you do something wrong.

According to a study conducted by LaFrance and Hecht (1995), if you smile after you do something wrong, you get a smaller punishment. [3] Another study said that if someone uses an embarrassed smile after doing something wrong will make people feel bad for you and forgive you more quickly. [4]

4. A smile can be given when expected by someone. This will make you feel good afterwards.

Many times people will tell you something and expect you to smile. If you don’t smile when expected, you will probably feel bad afterwards. Why not give them the smile they are looking for and make them happy? You’ll feel better too!

5. A smile can relieve stress and improve our mood.

A stressful situation can be relieved with a smile. Even forcing a smile can lift everyone’s mood. Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make you feel good. Smiling is a natural drug. Smiling helps you not look tired or stressed. When stress is lowered, your blood pressure is lowered which is good for your body.

The British Dental Health Foundation conducted a study that showed the act of smiling dramatically improved mood. It increases happiness not only in yourself but in those around you. Endorphins come into play here, too. Smiling tricks your mood into being more positive (faking does this, too) because the muscles we use to smile link with how the brain evaluates mood.

There’s a theory called Facial Feedback Hypothesis that suggests that our expressions can actually intensify our feelings.

6. A smile can help you concentrate on a wider problem to come up with better solutions for the larger picture.

Nervousness can make you focus only on a narrow problem. If you want to open yourself up to wider solutions, smile. It will relieve the stress and you’ll be able to come up with more solutions. This idea was tested and the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on tasks which required seeing the whole picture rather than specific problems.[5]

7. Smiling can make you be more attractive to others.

Especially in women, a smile makes men think they are more attractive. According to one study, when a woman only established eye contact with a man, she was approached 20% of the time. When the same woman added a smile, though, she was approached 60% of the time.[6] We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good.

The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don’t go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day — you’ll look younger and feel better.

9. A smile helps you to make money and get jobs.

Smiles help people earn more money. Waitresses found smiling made more in tips and repeat business.[7] Some industries only hire people that smile quite a bit – such as a Disneyland employee, flight attendants or front desk clerks at hotels. Smiling people appear more confident.

10. Smiles can be contagious.

Everyone loves the feeling when you smile at another person and they smile back. The percentage of people that smile back when smiled at is 50%.[8] No one returns a frown. Someone who smiles becomes the center of attention in the room. People want to find out what is making a person happy and therefore are attracted to them. A smiling person brings happiness along with them.

Scientific studies have shown that people have a difficult time maintaining a frown when those around them were smiling. Their bodies react, their facial muscles twitching into smiles of their own. It actually takes more effort and muscles to frown.

11. A smile can help your health improve and make you live longer.

There are some studies that show that people that smile more often, live longer. Maybe it is because smiling helps your body to function better by reducing stress which lowers your blood pressure, improves your digestion, boosts your immune system, regulates your blood sugar, increases your attractiveness and matches you with other people that smile and have fun. A study, published in General Psychiatry, consisting of participants over the age of 65, concluded that those optimists were 71% less likely to die from certain causes, in contrast to pessimists. [9]

Another benefit of smiling is that it exercises the face, using between 5 and 53 facial muscles, helping to prevent sagging, droopy skin.

12. Smiling helps you stay positive and improve your mood.

While smiling, it is very difficult to be in a bad mood. The act of smiling sends a message to our brain that things are going well and we’re happy. A smile keeps away depression, stress and worry. A study conducted by the British Dental Health Foundation showed that by smiling, a person’s mood was elevated. Dr. Nigel Carter, foundation CEO, stated “We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research. A healthy smile can improve your confidence, help you make friends and help you be happier.

The easiest way to boost your mood and overall health is to smile as often as possible. When you are feeling down, find something positive and smile. You’ll be happy you did!