Smiling can brighten our day, but also positively influence our health, too. 

When we smile we release serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good. The serotonin is a happiness hormone, which signals that something good is happening in our bodies. When we smile, we do not just feel happier, but also calmer and more likable, too!

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Key benefits of smiling :

1. Impact on the physical health

According to the University of Kansas study, a smile helps in reducing stress and lowering heart rate. The participants in the study who smiled or even pretended to smile had lower heart levels after recovery from the stressful happenings. Next time you are experiencing stress, just make a smiley face to positively influence not only your mood but also your physical health.

Also in another study, it is shown that smiling and laughing boosts our immune system. Laughter releases serotonin and endorphins; which are responsible for happiness. Research suggests that they boost the immune system and release toxins from our bodies. Also, people who are joyful are less ill, too and the ones who laugh a lot have better digestion, too.
The effect is the same whether we are pretending to laugh or smile or not, the impact on our mental and physical health is the same.

2. Effects on mental health

A smile can help you lift up the mood, even if it is a forced one.
Due to the embodied cognition, a smile sends signals to your brain that something good is happening. A smile is an indication to the minds that humor or joy is coming up and our brain reacts to that that by making matching feeling in our bodies. That way we feel better and happier!
Also, the more you smile, the more you lift up your mood, the more you start thinking positive thoughts because your brain rewires to positive mindsets and begins to create positive thinking patterns.

It is hard not to smile at the smiling person because the smile is contagious. The more you smile to others, the more they smile at you. In fact, 50% of people smile back. Researchers from Uppsala University indicated that frowning at somebody who is smiling is very difficult. So imagine everybody smiling at your home, office and creating the positive atmosphere. It can all start with just one smile, your smile!

People who are smiling are considered to be friendly, likable and even more competent, as suggested by the study from Penn State University. So, next time when you go to a business meeting, make sure you smile! Also, a smile lifts the face and studies have proven that a smile makes people look 3 years younger on average. The smile is an attraction factor, as it makes us more approachable and more attractive too.

Happiness formula: Laugh for at least 20 minutes a day. Smile 40 times per day.

We often hear the claim that children smile much more than adults. A child laughs more than 300 times a day, while the adults smile less than 20 times a day, compared to an average 40-year-old person who smiles only 4 times per day.

The experiment done by Dr. Robert Holden known as “happiness psychologist” shows that we can change the level of our happiness just by more smiling and laughing. His patients reported feeling happier after a month of smiling and laughing more frequently. Dr. Holden suggests we smile or laugh for at least 20 minutes a day. Also, if we smile 40 times a day, we increase the level of happiness and dissolve depression.

Use these 9 proven methods to smile more often and instantly feel happier:

1. Smile in the morning

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Spend just 60 seconds making a beautiful grin. It will start the momentum! After only one minute of even a forced smile, you will feel happier, triggering more positive and more joyful thoughts, which will make you feel better during the day. And what a great way to start the day!

2. Think of somebody you love

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Our thoughts influence our facial expressions and attitudes. If you think of a person, you love and the one who loves you back, right now approaching you, you will create a pleasant feeling and making the internal smile. It will lift up your mood and people around you will notice it, too. As suggested by NLP research, the inner smile will make you more attractive and approachable; at least it is how the other people will think of you.

3. Smile at yourself using a mirror

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A smile is so powerful even when we are smiling to ourselves. Dr. Ritzo recommends smiling at yourself in the mirror as it triggers our mirror neurons, which can help us calm down and re-center if we are feeling anxious and boost our mood!

4. Smile to strangers

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It creates a positive, smiling circle! By making a beautiful grin, you will feel better, and other people feel better, too, and then you feel great again! Smile contagious, and we tend to mirror the people’s facial expressions! Many people will smile back at you and create the favorable environment. On top of it, you will appear friendly, attractive and even more competent!

5. Place smiley reminders everywhere

“Colorful sticky notes on a gray wall” by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

NLP professional McKenna suggests placing many reminders on different places around your office and in your house, to help you remember to smile many times during the day. You can put red dots or post-it with a smiley face. So every time you see it, you have to smile!

6. Put out the positive images that make you smile

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Photos of your loved ones, pictures of people smiling; pictures of fun vacations, birthday cards, your rewards, and achievements. Place just about anything that will instantly put a smile on your face with a simple eye movement!

7. Laughter yoga

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It is a type of yoga that includes laughter into the body and mind exercises. The laughter yoga is a fun way to smile and laugh more during the day by just applying simple practices. There are a lot of fun videos that you can find

on the internet.

8. Think of the time you were extremely happy and joyful

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo on Unsplash

Sit back with your eyes closed and relax. Picture a big screen in front of you and start playing your favorite movie: the vacation you took, the night with your besties, sweet date, or the time something funny happened. Once you see in your mind the event with your eyes closed, start to feel the feelings that you were experiencing at the time of the event, smell the smells, see the colors vividly. Hold those images and emotions. The more you think about, the more it will put you in the same happy mood!

9. Play your favorite shows

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I love watching comedy shows as Friends, How I met your mother, Two and a half men, Modern Family, because every time I see any of these episodes, I am laughing so hard, which definitely brightens my mood!

What methods do you use to smile more often?

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  • Dr. Aleksandra Plazinic

    Executive Communications Coach, University Lecturer, Ph.D. Communications

    With a Ph.D. in communications, two master's degrees, being certified NLP coach and trainer, lecturer, and consultant with vast international professional experience in business consultancy, international organizations: European Commission, United Nations, non-profit organizations, and University setting, I worked with professionals from all over the world and helped them advance in their careers and personal lives by overcoming the fears, building their self-confidence and developing their public speaking and communication skills.