The Ten Hidden Powers of Your Smile

Smiling Relieves Stress

Smiling is one of the most natural movements you can make. Most of us smile every day - whether it’s at someone you love, because of a clever joke, or because you’re about to take that first sip of morning coffee. Smiling sends the message that we are at ease, enjoying ourselves, and happy to be in each other’s company. Moreover, smiling is so powerful that it’s contagious - a smile can spread, making others crack a grin, too. 

While many of us think of smiling as an unconscious reaction to outside stimulus, it is possible to harness the power of a smile. Choosing to smile has enormous benefits, from health to relationship quality, career opportunities, and even longevity. Keep reading to learn more about the ten hidden powers of your smile!

Written by Sarah Marrow, on October 29th 2021 - medically reviewed by Dr. Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, Oral Care

 1. A smile can improve your mood

While we typically think of a smile as an indication of positive emotion, smiling can also trigger good feelings. This is because when you smile, your brain releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine increases feelings of happiness, while serotonin is the hormone associated with stress reduction, helping you feel more at ease.

In addition to letting the happiness-boosting hormones flow, smiling also inhibits the release of cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol and adrenaline are related to stress and anxiety, so reducing these hormones helps you feel happier. So, your smile acts as a natural antidepressant in many ways, alleviating stress and increasing positive feelings!

 2. Smiling may relieve pain

Yes, really. Along with boosting dopamine and serotonin, smiling releases endorphins associated with pain reduction and elevated mood. Often called ‘the body’s painkiller,’ endorphins reduce stress within the body and are helpful in pain management.

When you smile, the body sends a signal from the facial muscles to the brain to release endorphins, meaning that even a fake smile can improve mood, decrease stress, and ward off pain. In other words, when it comes to smiling, you really can ‘fake it ‘til you make it!

3. Smiling may boost your immune system. 

There is some truth to the saying ‘Laughter is the best medicine’: smiling and laughing have been shown to improve immune function. The immune system is the body’s defense against illness and infection, and smiling can act as a protective element against disease.

In many studies, smiling was prompted by watching funny videos or hearing jokes, causing the patient to smile and laugh, which boosts immune function. So next time you’ve taken to bed with a cold, enjoy that warm cup of tea along with your favorite funny movie - it could help you recover more quickly.

 4. Smiling can lower your blood pressure. 

In clinical studies, smiling has been proven to reduce blood pressure. Blood pressure is often associated with stress, so when smiling reduces tension in the body, it, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

High blood pressure can be hazardous, linked to heart disease, heart attack, and even strokes. If you’re looking to keep your blood pressure in check, practice smiling each day.

5. Smiling may help you live longer. 

According to numerous studies, smiling aids in stress management and immune function, which leads to an increased lifespan. In addition, in studies on happiness, happy people who smile live longer than their unhappy counterparts. 

6. Smiling makes you more attractive. 

Studies have shown that we are more attracted to people who wear a smile. Smiling can even make others assume we have positive personality traits. As a result, we are more apt to approach those smiling individuals to create a better impression on potential partners. 

7. Smiling has an anti-aging effect on your appearance. 

A smile creates a lifted appearance to the face, giving the illusion of a more youthful countenance. While a smile does develop lines on the front - ‘smile lines’ or creases around the eyes - it is the good mood associated with smiling that gives the appearance of youth. 

In studies, participants who guessed the age of strangers typically assumed them to be younger when the photos showed a smile rather than another facial expression. So if you’re looking for a mini makeover, remember that a smile is the best thing you can wear.

8. Smiling helps boost confidence. 

A smile automatically exudes confidence. Studies show that people who smile freely are perceived to be more-self assured and more successful. In addition, individuals who smile more are given more opportunities for growth and development, as their self-assured appearance makes others more confident in them, too.

9. Smiling creates connections and builds trust. 

Smiling opens the door to connect with others in a deep and meaningful way. In studies, more significant smiles are correlated to feelings of trustworthiness and enhance emotional connection. Smiles can also help us reconnect and repair after trust has been broken in a relationship.

10. Smiling can help you advance in your career. 

Ready to make big career moves? It could be helpful to put on a happy face. Smiling is a universal sign of approachability. Smiling during interviews even made interviewers rate interview participants higher on a scale of likeability.  Not only that - people who smile regularly in the workplace are more likely to get promoted, hold leadership positions, and even make more money!

Quotes About the Power of a Smile

Our favorite quotes about the power of a smile are:

“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa

“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward

“A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles.” - William Hazlitt

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh

“Everyone smiles in the same language.” -George Carlin

“Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.” -Connie Stevens

“A smile remains the most inexpensive gift I can bestow on anyone, and yet its powers can vanquish kingdoms.” -Og Mandino

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.” -Phyllis Diller

“Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” – Mark Twain

“When you see a person without a smile, give them yours.”― Zig Ziglar

Speeches on a Power of a Smile

Writers, poets, and musicians have often written about the power of a smile. Artists from Leonardo Da Vinci to Mark Twain have notable quotes about smiles. Modern-day philosophers and researchers are still elaborating on the power of a smile. Ron Gutman expounded on the power of a grin in his 2011 Ted Talk:

“Smiling is one of the most basic, biologically uniform expressions of all humans. In studies conducted in Papua New Guinea, Paul Ekman, the world’s most renowned researcher on facial expressions, found that even members of the Fore tribe, who were completely disconnected from Western culture… use smiles to express joy and satisfaction.”

Rutman goes on to explain that children have the greatest ‘smile superpowers’:

“Children smile as often as 400 times per day. Have you ever wondered why being around children, who smile so frequently, makes you smile very often? A recent study from Upsalla University in Sweden found that it’s very difficult to frown when looking at someone who smiles. You ask ‘why’? Because smiling is evolutionary contagious!” 

It is evident that smiling isn’t just something we do without thinking - it’s a choice we can make every day to live better. While smiling signals that we are happy, we can also use a smile to create a positive chain reaction in our bodies, relationships, and lives. Smiling helps us feel better and look better, improve our health, connect with others, and even be more successful. Now that’s something to smile about!

Written by Sarah Marrow, on October 29th 2021 - medically reviewed by Dr. Jonathan B. Levine, DMD, Oral Care

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