Smiling isn’t just something we do when someone tells a joke or does something silly. It’s a means of communication that transcends speech, language, and even sight. In fact, there are even different kinds of smiles – some studies suggest that there are as many as nineteen facial expressions that can be characterized as smiling – and all of them mean something different.
And in addition to conveying thoughts and feelings, smiling is actually good for you! From old adages like “laughter is the best medicine” to scientific evidence of the health benefits of smiling, it’s been shown time and time again that people who smile more tend to lead longer, happier, and healthier lives. So today, we’re highlighting a few of the big benefits that come along with a toothy grin.
Some of the big benefits to smiling occur behind the scenes – and not just in your own body and mind. Smiling projects outward, allowing you to experience the benefits both internally and from the world around you. Those benefits include:
- Emotional Release. Smiling and laughing is a great way to release emotions and tension. From a nervous laugh or smirk, to a full-belly guffaw and open-mouthed grin, smiling is a wonderful way to let out those built up emotions.
- Better Interactions. It’s a time-tested fact that people are seen as most approachable, engaging, and enjoyable to interact with when they’re smiling. Keeping your lips turned up is a great way to have more positive social interactions, and it even makes you more attractive when searching for a partner!
- Better Quality of Life. Smiling doesn’t just convey emotions – it projects charisma, positivity, and confidence. A relaxed person that smiles often is more likely to be perceived as capable for new jobs, promotions, and relationships, all of which can have a drastic impact on your overall quality of life.
The benefits to smiling aren’t just in your head. There are actual, real physical responses from your body when you smile – and some of them can be pretty impressive. For example:
- More Endorphins. Endorphins are a type of neurotransmitter that helps boost feelings of happiness and lower stress levels. When you smile and laugh – even if it’s not genuine – these transmitters are released, causing you to feel content and relaxed.
- Less Pain. Endorphins can also act as an organic pain killer. Especially for sufferers of chronic pain, smiling and laughing really is the best form of natural medicine for pain management.
- Less Cortisol. Endorphins aren’t the only hormone affected by smiling – that happy facial expression can also reduce your body’s production of cortisol (the stress hormone), further lowering stress levels.