Say Cheese! The Effect of Smiling at Others
You are probably familiar with the effects of smiling on your own mind and body. From living a better and longer life to appearing more approachable and confident, from reducing the risk of certain serious diseases to releasing hormones that help decrease stress levels, the benefits of smiling are plentiful.
But are you aware of the effect of a smile on others? Yes, when you smile, the people around you can benefit from it, too.
Let’s shed light on why you should smile for the sake of your own happiness as well as that of others. Are you ready to smile more often?
Triggering Positive Feelings
Countless studies have shown that the very act of seeing another person smile triggers an automatic muscular response that produces a smile on our face. Yes, smiling is contagious, and science has demonstrated that time and time again.
When someone else smiles at us, regardless of whether we know them or not, it automatically lifts our mood. We can’t help but smile back, in an act that is almost involuntary, but which releases a wealth of benefits that we might not even be aware of.
The main one? A waterfall of positive, happy feelings. If we felt like we started our day in the wrong way, seeing someone smile at us will inevitably make us feel better.
All of a sudden, our day won’t look that terrible anymore—thanks to the power of someone else’s smile.
Because smiling back at someone is an automatic act (if you don’t do it, it’s normally because you are actively choosing not to), we are now reaping all those great, feel-good benefits that we would if we were the ones initiating the smiling.
Promoting Better Health for Everyone
Smiling at and with other people — whether they be friends and family or complete strangers that we come across on the street — also releases a host of great hormones in our bodies, which enhance everyone’s health. Stress levels are lowered, thus reducing any related chance of inflammation and pain.
And did you know that by decreasing inflammation, you also help prevent some of the root causes of serious diseases, such as cancer and heart disease?
Smiling more and smiling at other people can have such an incredible ripple effect, helping to make you and others around you lead healthier and longer lives.
Making Others Feel Rewarded
What other emotion would you say you feel if someone smiles at you? Besides happiness, calmness, and improved mood, another feeling triggered by a smile is a sense of feeling fulfilled and content.
It turns out that this is not just the psychology of smiling, but it has some medical and physical cause. Several scientific studies have noticed that when someone smiles at us, the part of our brain that controls feelings of reward is activated.
Yes, you’ve read it right: if we receive a smile, we may feel like we have been given a beautiful prize. And, of course, this feeling generates other positive sensations, which in turn continue to produce positive effects on our minds and bodies.
Facilitating Good Relationships
Picture this scenario. You are a student, on their first day at a new school, feeling understandably nervous, shy, and a bit lonely. You sit at your desk and start looking around at your new school mates, who are sitting all around you.
Some of them are greeting you with a smile, others are ignoring you, and another group is staring at you without smiling. Which ones will you be speaking to first, hoping to create some new friendships?
Correct: the ones who are smiling at you. In any situation, but particularly in those that might make us feel uneasy and anxious, we are drawn to bond with people who show us that they are friendly, approachable, and interested in getting to know us.
In this specific example, the students who are smiling at you are also very likely to be the ones who start a conversation and end up involving you in their lives and wanting to become a part of your life. In a nutshell, they are the ones who are going to become your friends.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever be able to make friends with people who don’t smile at you! It means that it might take a little bit longer, as your guard might be up and you might be feeling more uncertain if you were in a relationship with them.
The Effect of Smile on Others: A Powerful Tool for Greater Wellbeing
As we have discussed, smiling is not just a wonderful way to stay happy, positive, and healthy. It also creates a ripple effect on the people around you, who reap some pretty amazing benefits from such a simple and daily act.
The effect of a smile on others is so powerful that you should really consider smiling more, and at more people, regardless of whether you know them or not.
By smiling at others, you can contribute to their happiness and their health can make them feel rewarded and create strong and long-lasting bonds and relationships.
Are you feeling like you don’t have any reason to smile at the moment? This might be a symptom of something more serious going on. Why not get in touch with us and see if we can help you?