Travel & Lifestyle

The Psychological Benefits of Smiling

You might not realize that psychologists have actually studied smiling and how it affects humans. Still, there is quite a bit of research in the field of positive psychology suggesting that people can benefit from turning their frown upside down a little more often. Here are a few ways that the simple act of smiling can be of benefit to you and others.

It’s Contagious

It probably isn’t surprising to hear that smiles beget smiles. Mood is often contagious, and one person smiling can often elevate the spirits of a whole group. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, ask your dentist about tooth whitening Park Slope to brighten up your grin. Then share your smile with others to spread positivity when you notice a grimness around you.

You’ll Look Younger

Maybe this reason is a little superficial, but most people would be happy to look younger than they are rather than older than their true age. One study showed that photos of smiling people led viewers to guess that they were younger than they actually were. Photos of frowning people had the opposite effect. When you want to present a youthful demeanor to the world, add a smile to your face to shave a few extra years off. Another study also showed that smiling makes people appear thinner, so that’s one more benefit to enjoy.

You’ll Feel Happier

Of course, it’s important to accept that the full range of emotions is a healthy and normal part of human life. If you’re looking for a mood boost, though, smiling is a great way to feel happier. Even if you have to force a smile onto your face, you’ll feel the mood-enhancing benefits. A study done in the UK showed that smiling led participants to feel happier than eating 2,000 chocolate bars. Smiling is a lot less expensive than that much chocolate since it’s free. It also doesn’t add any sugar to your diet.

You’ll Live Longer

Various studies have shown that people who smile more often live longer, perform better on standardized tests, and have happier marriages. There may be more correlation than causation in some of these results, but it also makes sense that if smiling makes you and others around you happier, positive effects could spill over into other aspects of life. Pay attention to how often you find yourself smiling. If you can add even a few more smiles to your day, you might see some pretty amazing results after a while.

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