Everyone loves the quote “laughter is the best medicine,” and you have probably even experienced the benefits of smiling and laughter. But did you know that the simple act of smiling can boost your mood and even your immune system? Here are 15 fascinating facts about smiling:
- It costs nothing, but creates much.
- It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.
- It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
- None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
- It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.
- It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature’s best antidote for trouble.
- It cannot be bought, bagged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.
- Nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give.
Here are some fascinating scientific facts about our smiles, and why becoming a smile millionaire will change your life.
- Simulating a genuine smile can boost your mood: Psychologists have found that even if you’re in bad mood, you can instantly lift your spirits by simulating (not fake, but choose to engage in) a genuine smile.
- It boosts your immune system: Smiling really can improve your physical health, too. Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system.
- Smiles are contagious: It’s not just a saying: smiling really is contagious, scientists say. In a study conducted in Sweden, people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other subjects who were smiling, and their muscles twitched into smiles all on their own.
- Smiles Relieve Stress: Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, even when you force it. This sudden change in mood will help you feel better and release stress.
- It’s a universal sign of happiness: While hand shakes, hugs, and bows all have varying meanings across cultures, smiling is known around the world and in all cultures as a sign of happiness and acceptance.
- We still smile at work: While we smile less at work than we do at home, 30% of subjects in a research study smiled five to 20 times a day, and 28% smiled over 20 times per day at the office.
- Smiles use from 5 to 53 facial muscles: Just smiling can require your body to use up to 53 muscles, but some smiles only use 5 muscle movements.
- Babies are born with the ability to smile: Babies learn a lot of behaviors and sounds from watching the people around them, but scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability, since even blind babies smile.
- Smiling helps you get promoted: Smiles make a person seem more attractive, sociable and confident, and people who smile more are more likely to get a promotion.
- Smiles are the most easily recognizable facial expression: People can recognize smiles from up to 300 feet away, making it the most easily recognizable facial expression.
- Women smile more than men: Generally, women smile more than men, but when they participate in similar work or social roles, they smile the same amount. This finding leads scientists to believe that gender roles are quite flexible. Boy babies, though, do smile lessthan girl babies, who also make more eye contact.
- Smiles are more attractive than makeup: A research study conducted by Orbit Complete discovered that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.
- There are 19 different types of smiles: UC-San Francisco researcher identified 19 types of smiles and put them into two categories: polite “social” smiles which engage fewer muscles, and sincere “felt” smiles that use more muscles on both sides of the face.
- Babies start smiling as newborns: Most doctors believe that real smiles occur when babies are awake at the age of four-to-six weeks, but babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they’re born.
- Does it really take more muscles to frown than to smile? (The answer is no.)
Smiles DO NOT create wrinkles!
“Nasolabial folds” appear every time you smile, that much is true. As you grow older, those happy-face grooves don’t fade away once you stop beaming, explains Dr. Marc Glashofer, a New York-based dermatologist. But don’t blame your smile. The real culprit is your skin’s diminishing elasticity.
The biological changes that hurt your skin’s rebound abilities are called “intrinsic aging.” These include breakdowns to the underlying structure of your skin due to factors like fat loss and muscle atrophy.
Your genetic makeup also affects how your hide holds up to years of smiling. “We know different ethnicities age differently,” says Dr. Anthony Rossi, adding that your skin’s natural melanin concentrations and oil production also play a role in how quickly your smile groves will start to leave their mark. Unfortunately, many of those variables are out of your hands.
Say “Cheeks” instead of “Cheese” to display a more genuine smile
Next time you’re having your photograph taken don’t say “cheese”, say “cheeks”. Saying “cheeks” will not only shape your mouth nicely but will also remind you to squeeze your cheeks upwards into a visually satisfying, genuine-looking Duchenne smile. The “k” sound at the end of word is what begins to lift your cheeks upward, and that’s one of the most important aspects of a natural looking smile. If you’re in a situation where saying the word “cheeks” for no reason might draw unneeded attention, you can just mouth it. This can be especially effective when you’re taking photos of kids.
Make your home a valley of smiles
Make your home a valley of smiles instead of a vale of ATTITUDE tears. Smile now! Never mind how hard it has been for you to do so. Smile now! If you will remember all the time to smile now, you will smile always. However, a mechanical smile will not do. Your smile should be a reflection of your inner soul state of ever new joy
Some people smile most of the time, while beneath the mask of laughter they hide sorrow- corroded hearts. Such people slowly pine away behind a screen of meaningless smiles. But there are other people who smile genuinely once in a while, yet are very serious at other times; behind their austere appearance are secret fountains of laughing peace.
Happiness is a state of mind. Suppose you have enjoyed good health for fifty years then become helplessly sick for three years. You would likely forget about the long period of time when you laughed at the idea of sickness, being unable to imagine yourself in poor health. Instead, after having been sick for three years your mind would be unable to imagine your being in good health once more; it would tend instead to harbor the thought that you will never be well again.
Likewise, if after having been happy for a long time you become unhappy, even for a comparatively short time, you are apt to lose hope of ever being happy again. This mood also is the result of lack of imagination. The memory of long-continued happiness should be a forceful subconscious habit to help you ward off the consciousne ss of your present trouble.
When wealth only is lost, nothing is really lost, for if one has health and skill one can still be happy, and one can make more money. But if health is lost, then to a great extent happiness also is lost; and when the goal of life (which is happiness) is lost, everything worthwhile is gone.
Pure love, sacred joy, poetic imagination, kindness, wisdom, peace, the bliss of meditation, and happiness in serving, are felt inwardly first in the mind or the heart, and their beneficial effects are then transmitted by the nervous system throughout the body and thence outward. Do not camouflage the joy of your soul with the veil of sermons and solemn words. Understand and experience the superior joys of the interior life; then everyone around you will feel and benefit from the pure joy that emanate s silently from within your soul.
Source: Paramahansa Yogananda
The untapped power of smiling
Studies in the UK found that a single smile can generate the same amount of brain stimulation that 2,000 chocolate bars or 16,000 Pounds Sterling ($25,000) can, which means a person can feel like a million bucks just by smiling a certain number a times a day.
There is a an interesting article on Forbes titled, “The Untapped Power of Smiling”. Ron Gutman, the author of the article, explored the power of the smile and found studies of smiles being able to predict: how long lasting individual’s marriages would be, how high individuals would score on standardized tests of well-being and happiness, and how inspiring they would be to others. The research showed that the widest smilers consistently ranked highest in all of the categories. Another study found that players that smiled on their baseball cards had a longer average life span than those that didn’t.
- Hodgkinson L. (1994) Smile Therapy, Optima. Klein A. (1989) The Healing Power of Humour, GP Putnam and Sons. Ornstein A. Sobel D. (1987) The Healing Brain, Simon and Schuster.
- Strack, F., Martin, L.L. and Stepper, S. (1988) Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: A nonobstrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 54: 768-777
- Davis & Palladino, 2000 In a research study, participants were either prevented or encouraged to smile by being instructed how to hold a pencil in their mouths. Those who held a pencil in their teeth and thus were able to smile rated cartoons as funnier than did those who held the pencil in their lips and thus could not smile.
- Comic Relief fundraising campaign that took place in December 2002. StudentBMJ 2003;11:87-130 April ISSN 0966-6494
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