Smiling is something we do tens or even hundreds of times each day without thinking about it. Outwardly, a smile sends a clear message of joy, contentment, and pride. But what message does smiling send to our bodies?
In honor of National Smile Day, which is observed on May 31 each year, we’re sharing facts about the mental health benefits of smiling.
Grin, and you’ll bear it
The act of smiling is linked to three hormones that combat feelings of stress and depression: serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. These neurotransmitters are responsible for stabilizing mood and reducing stress. When you smile, your body releases these powerful hormones, all of which work rapidly to alter brain chemicals and enhance mood.
Even when you’re not given a reason to smile, the simple act of faking one can provide the same mood-boosting benefits as a genuine smile. Studies show that fake smiles are interpreted by the brain to be real ones because the same muscles are used to create both. So, even if you’re faking it until you make it, sporting a smile will prove worthwhile for your mental wellbeing.
Beaming for your body
Research shows that smiling benefits many bodily functions. Dopamine, one of the neurotransmitters released when you flash a grin, is responsible for activating parts of the immune system that create disease-fighting antibodies. The release of serotonin and endorphins also improves physical health by reducing pain and relaxing the body.
Smiling and socialization
Beyond the mental and physical benefits, smiling has also been linked to positive social perception. Research suggests that people who smile when greeting a friend or meeting someone new are more likely to leave a good impression and establish a connection. Plus, sharing a smile not only benefits the smiler but also the receiver. So, share a smile and the love today.