You have probably heard that it takes fewer muscles when smiling than when frowning, so why not smile? Although the exact amount of muscles needed to smile or frown is not quite agreed upon, there are many reasons to smile each day. Here are some reasons to turn that frown upside down as well as some facts you might not know about this common facial expression.
Fact #1: You feel better when you smile.
Studies have shown that when a person is truly smiling, it affects certain muscles that actually make you feel happy or joyful. You smile because you are happy and when certain muscles are hit, your brain sends even more happy signals, or endorphins. Smiling is awesome. Try it.
Fact #2: Smiling is contagious.
When someone is having a bad day, pay them a compliment with a smile. The double-duty mood boosting effect will turn their day around for sure.
Fact #3: You will look more attractive to men when you are smiling, if you are a woman.
Studies have shown that men think women who are not wearing make-up but are smiling are more attractive than those with perfect make-up who were stone-faced. This makes me wonder why runway models nary turn their mouths upward.
Fact #4: You will look less appealing as a man when you are smiling, if you are trying to attract a woman.
Oddly enough, the opposite is favored by women in a study by the American Psychological Association who prefer a man to look “brooding.” As a woman, this does not mean you should be rude or angry. The study only looked at initial reactions, not long-term relationship reactions.
Fact #5: It makes you sound friendly.
Smiling when you talk on the phone actually makes you sound more friendly. One thing that is taught to phone reps (or should be if it is not) is to smile when answering the phone to achieve better customer service. Somehow smiling translates into your voice to make you sound happy and engaging.
Fact #6: Those who smile live longer.
It is no secret that our emotional health is tied closely to our physical health. Since smiling means you are happy (and getting happier by the very act of smiling), you will likely live a longer, more relaxed life than those who regularly frown. Smiling actually boosts your immune system and can help you live 7 years longer on average!
Fact #7: Newborns are able to smile.
Most people think it takes a few weeks for that first smile, which is true if you do not count smiles in their sleep. Babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they are born. It makes you wonder what kinds of things a newborn has to smile about, right?
Fact #8: You are more likely to get a promotion if you smile always.
Those who smile tend to be thought of as having more confidence and sociable, therefore managers view these people as having what it takes to move up in the workplace.
Fact #9: There are 19 types of smiles.
Researchers were able to categorize 19 different types of smiles into two categories: polite, “social” smiles and those that were genuinely happy smiles. Among the list is the “embarrassed” smile, “genuine” smile and “loving” smile.
Fact #10: People tend to smile more when surrounded by people than alone.
While you may occasionally smile to yourself or laugh at something funny on the television, you are more likely to smile when you have an audience. Scientists tested this principal on ten month old babies and whether or not the audiences were responsive, they smiled much more when being surrounded by others than being alone.
Fact #11: Smiling is a universal sign of happiness.
Language may be a barrier, but facial expressions like the smile, pass through anywhere you travel. (Though this may not be quite true in some foreign countries which hold different values and customs, do check before visiting them.)
Have you put a smile on your face just now? Enjoy the boost of endorphins!
Not sure what to do to become a happy person? 15 Things You Need to Give Up if You Want to Be HappyFeatured photo credit: Smiley face shape in flower via Shutterstock