Smiling, even if it’s forced, signals our bodies to release endorphins in our brains. Endorphins are chemicals produced by our bodies that act as natural pain relievers, similar to opiates such as morphine, and can help reduce physical and emotional pain while increasing our sense of well-being.
A smile a day keeps the doctor away
Because of these endorphins, smiling can indirectly help to reduce stress. Feelings of worry or anxiety are masked by the endorphins we release when smiling, which, in turn, enables the immune system to fight viruses, bacteria and disease without being disrupted by stress.
It’s better to smile than to frown
Some claim that smiling requires less facial movement than frowning, saying that it takes 43 muscles to frown, while we only use 17 to smile while others argue that it takes 62 and 26, respectively. Still others suggest that it takes the same amount of muscles to smile or frown. The numbers don’t really matter. What does matter is that it’s better to smile than frown because of the aforementioned benefits.
Get the job you want
Smiling gives the impression that you’re attractive, social, confident and cheerful—qualities employers look for when hiring or considering promotions. Genuine smiles also lead people to believe that you’re trustworthy, which can’t hurt your cause when looking for employment or a raise.
Human mating call
An American study on smiling and attractiveness found that 69 percent of people found women without makeup who were smiling to be more attractive than women who were wearing makeup without a smile. Another study reported that men at bars are more likely to approach women when they are smiling.
image: Sean Jackson (Creative Commons – BY-ND)