Imagine you walk into a room full of strangers. Who’s the first person you approach? The one with a scowl? Or the individual beaming their pearlies at you?
The way you dress from head to toe sends one message, but what you wear on your face is even more powerful. It conveys an unmistakable message, one that deserves to be shared. Here are six reasons you should smile more.
1. It Reminds You to Mind Your Drinking
This reason to smile doesn’t necessarily mean you need to cut back on your indulgences. However, you can certainly use it as an excuse to turn down that glass of red wine if you noticed yourself drinking more than usual during the pandemic.
Why? Beverages like red wine, coffee or tea can stain your teeth, making them appear darker and duller. Such discoloration often sinks deep into your teeth, giving them staying power no matter how many white strips you use. It’s wise to cut back on such beverages and sip water in between when you must indulge. Smiling more often keeps you conscious of the need to preserve your pearly whites.
2. It Improves Your Mood
If you’ve ever been told to smile when you didn’t feel like it, you probably resented the demand. While this response is understandable — you do, after all, have a right to your feelings — cracking a grin after the speaker walks away could make you feel better about the situation.
Researchers at Cardiff University in Wales researched 25 people, half of whom had Botox treatments that prevented frowning, while the others received dermal fillers. Those who received the Botox reported more significant improvements in happiness than the filler group, although both were equally delighted with the effectiveness of their treatment.
Furthermore, researchers at the University of Kansas recruited volunteers for a 2-part test. The first half involved using chopsticks to hold facial muscles in either a neutral expression, a standard or a Duchenne smile. They were then asked to participate in stressful activities while holding these positions.
Those who smiled experienced lower heart rates after recovering from the stressful activity. The effect held whether participants were instructed to smile or merely manipulate their facial muscles in that direction with the chopsticks. Those who had a neutral expression had a higher stress response.
There may be truth to the adage to grin and bear it. Smiling could help you manage stress more effectively.
3. It May Help Your Career
Smiling in the workplace is one way to accelerate your career. It makes you appear more relaxed and confident, inspiring trust from others. The right facial expression can help you seal the deal that earns you a promotion.
However, that doesn’t mean you should tell your employees to smile more if you hold a managerial role. Despite strides toward equality, women get told to smile more often in the workplace, while men face no such demands. Failing to grin often enough can adversely affect performance reviews, deeming them as abrasive when evaluators wouldn’t judge a man for the same behavior.
How you choose to deal with it when someone tells you to smile at work is up to you — you could confront the speaker, politely decline or ignore the suggestion. You could also beam them a sharky grin that means one thing to you and another to them. They think you’re heeding their advice when in reality, you’re laughing at their petty sexism all the way to the top.
4. It Makes You Feel More Confident
One solid reason for smiling in the workplace — or anywhere — is that it gives you a confidence boost. It also makes you appear more approachable to other people, reducing the burden on you to strike up a conversation.
You can use this trick to relax when you have to speak in front of a group of people. Take a deep breath and smile at each person in the group before you begin. They’ll feel more welcome and engaged, ready to listen to what you have to say. You’ll also lower your stress levels, making you a more effective presenter.
5. It Builds Your Muscles
You’ve probably heard the seemingly sage advice that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. However, the opposite is true. Researcher Cecil Adams and plastic surgeon David H. Song identified the 12 principal muscles required for a Duchenne smile — the kind that crinkles your eyes. Frowning only required 11.
Smiling more often could even help you fight the aging process. Moderate muscle movement stimulates the production of hyaluronic acid — a substance you might recognize if you get dermal fillers. Your body produces more of it when you grin for free — it’s much less expensive than plastic surgery.
6. It Makes Others Smile, Too
Perhaps the best reason to smile is that it’s contagious. Even if you feel blue, it’s tough to resist someone beaming their pearlies at you without wanting to return the favor.
The cheer you spread could give someone the encouragement they need to keep going on a blue day. The world is full of enough unhappiness. Commit to contributing more sunshine.
Reasons You Should Smile More
It’s hard to resist a genuine look of joy, and sharing one can make you healthier and happier. Consider these six reasons why you should smile more today.