If you’re trying to minimize negative thinking, why not try smiling? It’s just one of the many benefits connected to putting on a happy face.
The idea that simply smiling can change your disposition seems far-fetched, but study after study has found that it does wonders for the mind and body. The physical change created by a smile is ONE Thing that can set you up for success in your work and personal life.
Check out these five amazing benefits you’ll get from smiling, even if it doesn’t come naturally.
You’ll Be Happier and Ultimately More Productive
Neurologists now know that smiling gives our brains a boost. When our facial muscles form a smile it triggers the release of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. These feel good hormones make us happier andlower stress instantly. The best part is you can fake a smile and still get the benefits since the brain can’t tell the difference.
Some research suggests that when you smile it’s best to go all out so that more facial muscles are utilized. Researcher Paul Ekman noted this in his 1990 research on “facial coding” stating that when subjects made a “Duchenne smile” brain activity was altered in a positive way. A Duchenne smile is a complete smile that activates muscles around the mouth and eyes.
As we discussed in a previous post, happiness is a natural productivity booster. In addition to releasing happy hormones, smiling also influences the brain to think positively rather than negatively. The more you smile the more positive thinking patterns will form. All that positive thinking will put you in a more productive and creative state of mind.
You’ll Make Other People Happier Too
Smiling is contagious, which makes sense given that humans are social creatures. When someone has a Duchenne smile on their face, we can’t seem to help smiling back. That’s because just seeing a smile causes a neurological response in the brain. Everyone else will get the same productivity benefits since they also get a boost of happiness hormones. Plus, seeing a smiling face ignites the reward centers of a person’s brain.
Even if you wanted to frown, which has a negative impact on mood, it would be difficult to do if someone else in eyeshot is smiling. That was the consensus of a study conducted by Uppsala University in Sweden. The study participants literally couldn’t frown while looking at a picture of a person smiling. Their brains automatically wanted to imitate the happy expression.
Being the person that puts other people in a better mood will certainly make you one of the most popular employees around the office. It can also help improve personal relationships since you’ll make others feel more relaxed.
You’ll Be Healthier in the Short-Term and Long-Term
The relaxation and mood boosting capabilities of smiling also make us healthier. The reduced stress levels alone can do wonders for your health and quality of life. Smiling has been shown to decrease a person’s heart rate and release tension on a cellular level. Author and biochemist Sondra Barrett wrote in her book Secrets of Your Cells that a decrease in tension makes cells less rigid, which protects against stress-induced mutations.
Doctors have also found that people who smile more also have a higher white blood cell count. White blood cells support the immune system by helping us fight off viruses and infections.
These affects will definitely impact your personal life, but they can also impact your career. Healthy employees are better for companies because they’re out less due to illness and are typically more productive. Managers and business owners that really want to improve the wellbeing and work of employees may want to consider implementing a workplace wellness plan if you haven’t already.
You’ll Make a Better Impression
On a whole people rate others as more attractive when they’re smiling. But that’s not the only snap judgment people make. They also consider people who are smiling to be more competent, nice, likable and empathetic. Studies have also shown that smiling makes a person seem more trustworthy.
A relaxed, smiling expression during stressful situations will indicate to others that you cope well under pressure and exude confidence. This can have huge career implications from getting hired to advancing to building relationships with co-workers.
The affect is so strong people don’t even have to see your smile to react in a more positive way. For years sales teams have followed the “smile and dial” approach to making outbound calls. It turns out that smiling affects the tone of our voice and the person on the other end of the line can pick up on smiling tones. There are even different tones for different types of smiles.
You’ll Seem More Inviting and Approachable
When a person is frowning the natural inclination is to let them be. But when someone is smiling the reaction is just the opposite. Facial expressions are one of the many social cues that people use to decide whether or not to engage another person. Scientists have dubbed these reactions approach-avoidance tendencies.
Being approachable is extremely important in your career, social and personal life. It’s the first step in making meaningful connections with other people.