It’s incredible how much a smile can do, don’t you think? Not only does smiling improve your performance by 31%, but it also decreases the probability of heart disease, boosts your immune system, and reduces stress and anxiety. The act of smiling releases endorphins (the same chemicals that are released when running, and result’s in something called runner’s high) and serotonin in the brain which are both natural anti-depressants released by the brain and the bonus point, *drum roll* no side effects!
Not only does smiling affect you, but it also affects everyone around you. Ever wondered why you smile upon seeing someone else smile? Well, this is a phenomenon called mirroring (which is the subconscious replication of another’s nonverbal signals) and is due to certain neurons in the brain. These neurons are called mirror neurons, and are considered one of the most important discoveries made in the last few decades in neuroscience. This discovery was made accidently by the Italian researcher Giacomo Rizzolatti and his colleagues while they were testing the brain activity of monkeys during different motor actions. We mimic other people’s facial expressions because it helps us understand the situation better, and helps us behave accordingly. Now we all know about how smiling is beneficial and all that jazz, but what about forced smiles? It is common to assume that our facial expressions reflect what we feel inside, but what about the other way around? Science has proven that facial expressions have a great affect on how we feel, faked or not, and that fake smiles actually do have benefits!
Many research findings have proven that plastering a smile on your face has equally the same benefits as a genuine smile, even if you are consciously aware that you’re faking it. Yep, it’s true… So how about you do a world a favor and flash that pretty smile of yours more often?
I'll leave you with an adorable compilation of laughing babies