More than a third of us smile more than 20 times per day, whereas less than 14% of us smile less than 5. Amazingly children smile more than 400 times per day! Have you ever wondered why being around children who smile so frequently make you smile so often? Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden found that it’s very difficult to frown when looking at someone who is smiling. Smiles are evolutionarily contagious!So why do we smile? In two million years our brains have tripled in size, and as a result we have newer, niftier parts like the prefrontal cortex, which is really good at helping us manage our communications and emotions. This is a place where we can try out different scenarios and weigh the consequences before deciding to take action, like smiling or scowling. Smiling is a sort of social contract we enter into — we’re communicating to others that everything’s doing extremely well.
Charles Darwin theorized that facial expressions don’t necessarily function as a broadcast service of your mind’s mental state, but that at times facial expression actually determines your mental state.
“The act of smiling itself actually makes us feel better – rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good”
Smiles modify the neural processes of emotional content in the brain in a way that helps us feel better when we smile. Smiling can actually make you healthier by helping to reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine. It reduces overall blood pressure and actually makes you look good!
A study at Penn State University found that when you smile you don’t only appear to be more likable and courteous but you actually appear to be more competent.
Smiles have the power to break down the cold walls of indifference and warm a lonely heart that’s blue. Remember, a smile is a contagious thing. Give to the world and the world will give back to you. Smile at the world and the world will smile back at you. You will brighten the days of those around and make a difference in their lives… simply by smiling!