The Science of Smiling: Why Humans Need to Grin
Contributed by Jessica Locke
Over 30 million years of evolution, humans learnt how to smile. One may ask, “Why did we need to learn this?”
It is beyond an expression of happiness. In fact, contrary to what you may think, smiles are not universal, and a smile looks and means different things in different cultures.
But how does the body receive a smile? And how do our brains?
It turns out that smiling is a stunningly complex phenomenon and it produces a myriad of benefits for our present and future well-being. We’ve jotted down a few just to demonstrate why it is super important to grin!
- Experience More Happiness
Starting with the obvious, a smile makes you happier. Whether or not you are happy when you start smiling, the happy-feeling dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin come out to play and our mood goes up and up.
Researchers have concluded that one smile generates more happiness than eating 2,000 bars of chocolate; however, unlike chocolate, there’s no downside or risk of overindulging!
- Feel Less Stress
Smiling lowers your heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. Since stress is known to shorten your life and decrease your productivity, smiling literally leads to a longer and more successful life.
Next time you’ve got a case of the Monday blues, just crack a smile and wait for the pressure to melt away.
- Boost Your Creativity
Creativity, productivity and unrestricted ways of thinking are all more likely to coincide with a positive mood. Look for reasons to smile and think positive and you’ll fuel your creative fire and enhance your ability to generate new ideas.
Smiling also prompts us to look back to past joys, which can influence us to adopt a happier, healthier state of mind in situations that require us to be creative.
- Successful Relationships
You reward everyone in your midst when you smile at them. It’s an effective way to show someone that you approve of their company, their work, their jokes, their story and their performance.
Plus, when you smile, there is a high chance that you will get a smile in return. Especially if you bring your Duchenne smile, the ear-to-ear queen of all smiles, out for all eyes to see!
- Stronger Immune System
A recent study in Britain revealed that smiling might be able to save your life! The study shed light on the way the body reacts when an immunisation is delivered and proved that participants who were in a positive mood created antibodies to the virus far more effectively than those in a negative mood.
So the next time you get your flu shot, pack a smile.
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