8 Benefits of Smiling Because Life Is Still Worthwhile If You Just Smile
I couldn’t reach the one year anniversary of my facial reanimation surgery without marking the occasion with a keepsake piece of jewellery. It's surreal it's been a year since my facial nerve graft, but as the ability to widen my smile improves, I realise I actually had some of the best ever times whilst physically unable to sometimes show this expression to others. I was happy, despite not always looking like it, and that's when I realised our sole focus shouldn't be on how we look to others, but instead how we feel inside because there are so many powerful benefits to smiling. And so the intention of this ring is to encourage you to smile whenever you see it - whether that’s a huge grin on the outside, or an internal smile for those that can’t express it visually. Smile for you and for the benefits below 💛
Read also: 24 Hours Away From Face Surgery and Another Tick to the Surgery Bucket List
8 Benefits of Smiling:
1. Smiling changes your energy state.
Even when we don’t feel like it, smiling can change our mood and activate the pathways in our brains that influence our emotions. It releases endorphins that boost your feelings of happiness and encourages you to think positive thoughts.
2. Releases stress.
Studies have shown that smiling actually deactivates our stress response by the release of neuropeptides which are known to fight stress. Dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when we smile and it’s the serotonin that acts as an antidepressant and mood lifter, reducing stress and lowering your heart rate.
3. Leads to better relationships.
Those who smile often are said to be more approachable and likeable which contributes to your ability to build and maintain strong relationships. Whilst it isn't important to solely focus on the way others perceive us, smiling can internally boost our confidence and happiness levels, making us more open to opportunities and conversations.
4. Smiling is contagious!
Smiling not only changes your mood, but it also affects the mood of others. Whether or not you can physically express a beautiful symmetrical smile, your eyes, cheeks and relaxed state will all show your soft demeanour, encouraging others to join you in changing their focus and increasing patience.
5. Natural pain relief.
Those endorphins that smiling releases, mentioned above, are the body’s natural feel good chemical, and pain remedy for both physical and emotional pain. So laughter really is the best medicine, and smiling can provide relief from aches and pain!
6. Boosts immune system.
According to Science Daily, laughing, encouraged by smiling, is as good for our health and immune systems as regular exercise is, because of the increased production of infection-fighting antibodies it creates and activation of the body's protective cells.
7. Makes you look younger.
A study by Psychology and Ageing showed that when people were shown photos of happy faces, they guessed the ages of the people in the photo as younger than someone with a neutral or angry expression. So whilst your age might not actually decrease, smiling gives the illusion of a youthful appearance.
8. Increases resilience and ability to cope.
In the midst of a challenge or adversity it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by feelings of negativity and hopelessness. But smiling is an instant mood booster. It won’t mask your feelings, but it will enable you to feel more able to cope and release some of the worry, stress and tension you are holding. It’s Impossible to think negative thoughts or feel negative emotions whilst smiling.
Little smile challenges:
- Note cards - Choose 10-20 colourful sticky notes to write your favourite quotes, lyrics, poems or words on. Place these in areas around your house where you will see them often.
- Public notes - Leave kind words on little post-it notes and place these in public places, e.g. park benches or traffic lights, to make others smile when they see them.
- Waiting game - Find a moment when you are waiting in line, at traffic lights or the supermarket, to smile at a stranger and see if they smile back.
"Life is still worthwhile, if you just smile." - Nat King Cole