How Smiling Contributes to Our Happiness (& a Few Tips!)
“How Smiling Contributes to Our Happiness (& a Few Tips!)” was written by guest contributor, Jenny Marchal.
We all love seeing people smile. We all love making people smile. It’s a fundamental human trait. It’s also highly infectious and seeing someone smile causes us to react with our own grin even if it’s with a stranger.
Smiling is something we did often as children – smiling, laughing, playing and just being in the moment and enjoying it. I think I read somewhere that children laugh and smile around 200-300 times a day while adults, on average, only smile around 20 times. What the hell happened?! I guess many would say that life happened. Stress, worry, anxiety happened – everything that comes with modern life and ‘adulting’.
Everyone knows smiling is good for us – we release those feel-good endorphins and we all know these help us to feel happier and less stressed. There are numerous other benefits too – a hearty laugh exercises the body and stretches our muscles, it helps release emotions and also helps draw people positively to us. We can seem more approachable and confident to others, and they’ll react better towards us and in the right way it can resolve conflict. And what’s the number one trait people look for in a partner? Someone that’ll make them smile and laugh.
So if this is a huge key to feeling happy and getting us into a positive state then perhaps we should try and consciously smile a bit more?
Scientific studies have shown that even if you form your face into a smile (in other words, faking a smile) your brain is tricked into thinking you’re happy and releases endorphins. So this is a great exercise for you to do to up your happiness a bit (perhaps try this alone so you don’t look like a loony in the street gurning at yourself!) So much strong evidence in the field of research is coming through about just how much our body and physiology affects our thoughts and feelings.
Do things that make you smile
I think sometimes we tend to forget to do things that actually make us smile. We don’t always consciously go out of our way to do these things. Find some music that brings back fond memories and have a dance around for 5 minutes – anything.
1. Spend more time with people that make you happy
These people can work wonders for getting us out of a funk sometimes and help those smiles come to the fore more often.
2. Watch a funny film or TV comedy
Always a winner here – guaranteed laughs and smiles all round and can really lift our vibration.
Smile as much as you can
When you’re out and about try smiling more at people. Smile at the shop assistant. If you catch someone’s eye just give them a simple smile and carry on. These are little instances but you’ll eventually find that smiling will instantly put you in a happier state.
Being mindful about smiling can be hard especially if we don’t always feel like we have anything to smile about in the moment. But perhaps try to be more conscious of it and smile a bit more in your day-to-day life. In most cases it’s become a habit to not smile and just get on with our work, chores and the millions of other things we need to do. But just give it a go, even just for a day. Be aware of how much you smile or don’t smile and see how it changes your perceptions and your overall vibration and well-being.
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About the Author: Jenny Marchal is a freelance writer. Her hobbies are breakfast, lunch and dinner although writing, travelling and exploring are her biggest passions. She likes learning all about positive psychology and writes about it over at her blog: A Life Less Ordinary – Habits For Happiness.
Image Source: Brandon Marks, OakenHeartPhoto.com. All rights reserved. This image was reproduced with permission from the photographer. Please contact the photographer to use this image.