Why we should smile more

We are in the middle of the Coronavirus outbreak, a very concerning time for lots of reasons. Depending on what country you live in, you will have experienced a minor or major change in your lifestyle, you might have suffered from the illness yourself, be worried about loved ones or have lost someone. Also, many of us face great uncertainty as a result of the pandemic and the new rules of living that come with it.

But the pandemic and its related impact on our lifestyle is something that none of us can change as individuals. It’s mostly out of our control. We can go and vote governments who we believe act in our best interests (yes, that's a difficult one too!) and we can sign petitions for special causes that are important to us. But that’s as much as most of us can do.

So there is only one way to stay sane and that is radical acceptance. Despite wanting to cry, here is an idea: we might as well be smiling.  Because there is still so much great in our lives and even if that's hard to acknowledge sometimes, smiling is just the best facial expression when it comes to improving our mental and physical health. 

In Handbook for Today, one of the happiness habits we encourage you to try out is to smile. 

Why does smiling make us happy?

The way our brain interacts with our muscles is fascinating in particular the signals that are sent from brain to muscles and back. So if we feel happy and pleased with something, our face will show a smile, caused by an emotion, expressed by our facial muscles lifting into a smile.

But here is the trick. We can trick our brains into thinking we are happy by just using our muscles to smile. When we smile, the brain gets the signal that we must be happy and that’s how we end up feeling.

Why is smiling healthy?

The cortisol and endorphins that are released when we smile lead to reduced stress levels and can even lead to a decrease in pain. Also smiling boosts our immune system by the neurotransmitter serotonin. And the endorphins released whilst smiling can help lowering our blood pressure.

Those are brilliant reasons to smile, giving us a health kick, when a good immune system is so important.

Why is smiling a win-win?

If we are surrounded by others when we smile, others will smile back. This again helps us as it gives us a reason to smile even more or longer, but also gives the smile to others who then benefit from our smile. We are giving the gift of a smile and it cost us nothing.

Why does smiling make me more successful?

We are all social beings and smiling communicates happiness and confidence to others. Someone who smiles comes across as confident and trustworthy. As mentioned before, smiling is contagious, so your smile will make people around you feel better and that makes it more likely to win your point.  

How can I smile more?

Life is often hectic and things don’t always go the way they should, so we might simply forget to smile. A little exercise could be to smile at yourself in the mirror just after your shower. Set your phone alarm for 30 seconds and give yourself a good smile. It will feel long but rest assured, you will feel happier. Maybe a bit silly, but for sure happier. You deserve a smile and the easiest way to get one is by smiling at yourself. Then, take that smile to your loved ones or people outside.

Give yourself little smile challenges. It is so easy and so hugely rewarding.

  • Smile for 30 seconds
  • Smile at a stranger
  • Whenever you are waiting for something, in a queue or on the phone, use the time to smile

Keep on smiling!