The Benefits of Smiling


"If you are happy, notify your face."

My mother used to say this to me as a child. When I was sad or frustrated, I hated hearing this common phrase, because it felt hard to smile when I wasn't happy. At other times in my life when I was learning how to feel my emotions for the first time, I didn't want to bypass my true feelings and fake a smile. I had done that for too long. But now as an adult, who understands the power of a smile, I understand the wisdom beneath my mom's words.

So often we get wrapped up in our own thoughts and lives that we forget what our face looks like. We forget what others may be going through. We forget that  as simple as smiling at your morning barista or holding the door and smiling at the person behind you can make a world of a difference.

Smiling is not only good for others but also great for your health. There are research studies that show smiling can boost your mood. A 2010 study found that making yourself smile when you’re feeling down helps improve your mood and increases positive thoughts. Smiling allows you to be more likable by others, be positive, and have better interpersonal skills and marriages. 

It can reduce stress and your blood pressure. A 2009 review explains that laughter causes an initial increase in heart rate, followed by a period of muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. Smiling can result in a lower heart rate during stressful tasks. Smiling can also improve your stronger immune function to boost your immune system. The Mayo Clinic indicates that laughing signals molecules to fight stress and illnesses

Smiling and laughter causes your body to release its own natural painkillers, increases your pain threshold, creating a higher pain tolerance. So, if you’re in pain due to an injury, illness watch a funny movie or spend time with friends who make you smile.

I would agree with my mom's old adage of smiling if you are happy. But I would also add to her cliche to smile if you're not feeling happy because the benefits are boundless of notifying your face to stretch, expand and brighten.