We can all take some advice from artist, Bobby McFerrin. In Don’t Worry Be Happy he sings, “cause when you worry your face will frown, and that will bring everybody down, so don’t worry, be happy.”
Even though we’ve heard this age-old advice before, have you ever contemplated the truth behind those words? We are here to tell you that this catchy tune is in fact, scientifically correct! Research conducted around the act of smiling states that a tooth grin can actually boost your mood. Let’s take a look at some of the studies that have found this sage advice to be true.
4 Reasons to Smile More
- Smiling Can Reduce Stress. We are all looking for ways to de-stress nowadays. A recent study from the University of Kansas found that holding a neutral expression can be more detrimental to your heart health than forcing a grin. The study followed volunteers around and asked them to complete tasks with a genuine smile, fake smile, and neutral expressions. Those with a genuine or fake smile had lower heart rates!
- It Floods Your Brain with Feel-Good Hormones (More than Chocolate!) A British study about pleasure inducers concluded that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as consuming 2,000 chocolate bars. I think we would all rather smile than eat that much chocolate!
- People Respond Positively to Smiles. Mirror neurons in our brains have the specific function of replicating others behavior as a biological means of connecting to our loved ones. Cool, right? The cingulate cortex helps our brain decipher unconscious reactions, which means when you smile, others around you are more inclined to smile back! Smiling is a great way to spread positive vibes.
- Smiling Can Make You Live Longer. A 2010 Wayne State University research project suggests that smiling could extend your life! The study examined 1950’s baseball cards and found that players who were smiling in their pictures lived an average of 80 years old, while players who did not smile lived to be only 72.9 years old.
Forced Smiles Have Benefits Too!
Sometimes faking a smile is necessary- and that’s ok! Forcing a smile is much better for your health and the health of those around you than keeping a blank expression. Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hanh was onto something when he said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”