It is a scientific fact that we are drawn to other human faces more than anything else. Even as tiny infants, we seek out and respond to the human face, in particular, the human smile. Babies smile their first smile by around six weeks old, all on their own. However, if their smiles are not returned by their caregivers, they will stop smiling, and one of their most important developmental and social milestones will be lost.
The human smile is one of our most powerful expressions, and it is something we tend to take for granted. A smile is more than just a friendly greeting, it is a vital part of communication and is essential to our physical and emotional well-being. Here are 12 of the many reasons why you shouldn't forget to smile:
- Did you know that smiling alters the chemistry in your body? It's true. Research has shown that when you smile, your heart rate lowers, your breathing slows down, and your body relaxes. These things together help to lower your overall level of stress, which helps to boost your immune system.
- Trying to look more attractive to others? Lose that aloof, uninterested look. It does not make you more desirable! Instead, smile more. Research shows that people rate others as significantly more attractive when they are smiling. Not only that, but smiling also makes you more approachable and others will perceive you as more trustworthy.
- It makes you feel good. Smiling releases endorphins and seratonin, which increases your sense of well-being. Not only that, but it makes others feel good. In fact, the power of a loving smile is more effective than 2,000 chocolate bars!
- It can make you more successful. People who smile are more likely to be seen as confident, intelligent and capable. This explains why "smilers" tend to get more promotions, and tend to get hired more often than their non-smiling counterparts. The next time you are in a job interview, or a meeting with your boss, be sure to flash a genuine and heart-felt smile. Do this, even if you are nervous, and you will not only feel better, but you will increase your chances of getting hired or promoted.
- Be remembered. Studies have shown that a person who smiles during a meeting or encounter is three times more likely to be remembered than a person who doesn't. Take a moment to make eye contact and smile, and you will be less likely to be forgotten!
- It fosters a sense of cooperation. The next time you are trying to get something accomplished, and you need someone's help, don't get pushy and serious, smile! People are far more likely to go out of their way for someone who is smiling at them versus someone who has a grumpy or even neutral expression. If it is a question of getting better service at a restaurant or hotel, your friendly smile will go much further than being aggressive.
- The search for that magic serum that will make you look younger can be as simple and as inexpensive (free, actually) as putting on a smile. Smiling lifts the face, brightens the eyes and plumps the cheeks, giving you a more youthful appearance. Walking around with a worried, angry or stressful expression will only add years to your face, and it will make you appear unapproachable and increase your stress levels. Smiling not only makes you look younger, it makes you feel younger too, which is even more important!
- It makes you appear more successful. Studies have shown that people perceive you as being more successful if you smile frequently. It makes sense, if you are smiling a lot, there must be a reason for it, so it makes sense that people would assume that you must be doing well for yourself!
- Smiling is a natural way to lift your mood. If you are feeling down, start smiling. It will actually fool your body and your brain into thinking it is happy, which will in turn make you feel happy, for real! Give it a try.
- Smiling has a positive impact on others. Who doesn't want to make those around them feel good? Smiling can do that. When you smile, you help lift the spirits of those around you, and you can literally change a person's day. Think about it: Has someone's smile ever turned a bad day around? You can have that effect on others, and in turn create more happiness for yourself.
- Smiling makes you more productive. When you are stressed out and overwhelmed, you become less productive, more disorganized and in turn, even more stressed. The next time this happens, take a moment and consciously smile. It may seem silly to smile when you are stressed and trying to meet a deadline, but it works. As you smile, your heart rate lowers, you become less stressed and you increase the endorphins and seratonin levels in your brain. All this helps you feel calmer and leads to greater focus and ability to handle your task. And, it makes you look friendlier, so you have a better chance of getting some help!
- Smiling helps you live longer. When you put together all of the above factors, you can clearly see that smiling regularly boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and relieves stress. Combine that with the psychological benefits such as improving relationships, combating depression and increasing success, it's no wonder that frequent smilers live longer than their frowning counterparts!
So smile, and while your at it, take care of that smile! You are much more likely to flash those pearly whites if your teeth are healthy and strong. Make sure to visit your dentist regularly, and to brush and floss. Avoid things that will stain your teeth, such as coffee and tea, and stay away from soda! A healthy smile is a beautiful smile, and it is one of your most valuable assets!