Join Dr. Alveda King, Martin Kove, Dr. Cyndi Romine, Steven Profeta, Kaylin Jackley, Pamela Landwirth, and more as we take part in the Be Great SMILE!
Our goal with the SMILE Campaign is to spread positivity and to educate people on the power of a simple smile. The world has been struggling in unprecedented ways since 2020’s Pandemic but we believe in harnessing happiness through love, kindness and compassion.
We look forward to people engaging with the SMILE campaign by filming themselves and uploading their videos so we can continue to match individuals up from around the world through our ongoing video series.
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12 Reasons to Smile Every Day
Smiles Are Contagious
According to a 2008 study published in The BMJ medical journal, which tracked nearly 5,000 people in the town of Framingham, Massachusetts over the course of 20 years, a person's level of happiness can largely be determined by the network of people around them. In other words, if you live in a neighborhood where people are smiling a lot, then you probably have a big ol' grin plastered across your face more often than not, too. Nicholas Christakis, a professor in Harvard University's sociology department and co-author of the study, told Fox News. We encourage you to conduct a study of your own and monitor how many people smile in reaction to your smile.
Smiling Lowers Blood Pressure
A 2009 review explains that laughter causes an initial increase in heart rate, followed by a period of muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, which helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
According to Chris Norris, a Psychiatrist, Neurologist, and Managing Editor at Sleep Standards, “smiling and laughing initially increases heart rate, then relaxes the muscle, and eventually decreases the heart rate and blood pressure.” Smiling isn’t just an expression you can wear, but a way to improve your overall health. It has been proven that when we are stressed, our heart rate increases and our blood pressure rises. Similar to smiling through a negative situation can help lower stress levels, smiling can also help lower blood pressure.
Smiling Increases Endurance
Dr. Velikova says that “smiling can help in decreasing perceived effort and increase athletic performance.” She also stated that “one of the most important factors in athletic endurance is perceived effort.” Perceived effort is how hard you feel your body is working, regardless of how hard it actually may be working.
This study found that runners used less energy while exercising when they intentionally smiled through their workout. Interestingly, they also found that the runners reported a higher perceived effort when frowning during their run as opposed to smiling. We encourage you to watch or listen to something funny during your next workout and monitor how you feel.
Smiling Lessens Pain
Professors at UCI analyzed pain levels related to the injection of a needle — no bigger than one you may see when getting a typical flu shot. They found that those who were smiling during the injection reported the injection hurt about half as much as those who were not smiling. Does this mean there could be a correlation between pain and the facial expression you convey? We believe so…so next time you’re going in to get a shot or do something painful, put a grin on your face, and smile through the pain! We believe that it most likely will help.
Believe it or not, a good laugh relieves some body aches or pains. According to Mayo Clinic, laughter actually is the best medicine, as it allows the body to produce its own natural painkillers. So, keep watching stand-up comedy and hanging out with that goofy friend, because it’s healthy!
When we laugh, our body releases its own natural painkillers. Also known as endorphins, it has moderate pain-relieving benefits. The same UCI professor of psychological science, Sarah Pressman, helped conduct a study published in the journal of Emotion that took a look at different emotions and their impact on discomfort and pain.
Smiling Alleviates Stress
A 2015 study published in Psychological Science found that smiling can result in a lower heart rate during stressful tasks. Stress generally causes increases in heart rate and blood pressure. So, maintaining a smile when stressed provides you with both psychological and physical health benefits.
Thinking positively or focusing on your breath during stressful times is easier said than done. Chris Norris, a Psychiatrist, Neurologist, and Managing Editor at Sleep Standards, introduces a new stress-relieving technique: smiling. “Smiling when you're really happy or even if you’re sad helps you to deal with stressful times,” he says.
Smiling tells the brain to release neuropeptides which are tiny proteins that can help reduce stress. A study conducted by psychological scientists at the University of Kansas found that “smiling during brief stressors can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy.” Next time you are dealing with a stressful situation, try to consciously smile and monitor the results. Just be mindful if you are smiling directly at the person who may be causing the stress because it just might elevate the situation, LOL.
Smiling Strengthens the Immune System
Laughter might really be the best form of medicine! A study conducted in 2015 revealed that laughter therapy increases immune responses in women who have just had babies.
Strengthening one’s immune system is arguably more important than ever before in light of our recent COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, Ph.D., and Medical Advisor at Supplements101, “laughter and positive thinking increase immune response, allowing us to be less prone to diseases.” Humor, which often leads and-or ends with a smile, can raise levels of immune cells and boost infection-fighting antibodies. In addition to the immunity-boosting products and supplements flooding restaurants and stores, we encourage simply smiling WAY more often!
Smiling Releases Endorphins
Smiling flexes muscles in our face and communicates to our brain that we’re smiling. As a result, the body then releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. These are feel-good neurotransmitters that create a celebration in your brain — elevating your mood, alleviating stress, and relaxing your body. This is known as the facial-feedback hypothesis, a theory stating that our facial expressions not only communicate how we feel to others but also to ourselves. Because endorphins are happy hormones, they generally make us feel happy, joyful and warm inside.
Smiling Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Did you know that if you experience high blood pressure, something as simple as smiling and-or laughing could help lower your blood pressure? Well, a 2009 review in the New England Journal of Medicine shows how laughing/smiling will increase your heart rate and also cause a moment of muscle relaxation, which decreases heart rate and blood pressure. Ultimately, this reduces the risk of developing heart disease so bring on the giggles!!!
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and high blood pressure is one of the key risk factors. Dr. Lina Velikova says that “smiling and laughter increase heart rate; however, soon after, muscles relax, blood pressure and heart rate drop, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.” Because smiling can reduce blood pressure, adding a smile or two to your day could improve your heart health and put you at less risk of developing heart disease.
Smiling Relieves Anxiety
Researcher Tara Kraft said, “age-old adages, such as ‘grin and bear it,’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events. Tara also shared, “we wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits.”
To investigate the claim, the researchers recruited over 150 willing college students for a hands-on experiment.They fibbed a bit and actually told the participants that they were testing whether smiling would make them happier would have distorted the results, so the students were told that the experiment was about multi-tasking.
Anxiety and stress can feel similar and sometimes go hand in hand. Anxiety can trigger stress just like stress can cause anxiety. As we mentioned, smiling can help reduce stress levels, so we can assume smiling can also help relieve anxiety.
One study conducted by the Journal of Maternity Care and Reproductive Health found that smile therapy helped reduce anxiety in pregnant women. Sometimes smiling can help trigger happier thoughts, curbing negative emotions and reducing your anxiety in the meantime.
Smiling Boosts Moods
Some studies suggest that the physical act of smiling can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. A study conducted by psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales and after administering an anxiety and depression questionnaire, researchers found that those who had received frown-inhibiting Botox injections were, on average, happier than people who could frown. In general, the Botox recipients reported feeling happier and less anxious.
Another study, published by the American Psychological Association, discovered that a smile, even when it’s forced, can generate more positive emotions.
Smiling can help improve relationships producing success in both your personal and professional life. Research suggests that those who express positive emotions and who are happier, in general, are more likely to achieve goals at work and in their everyday lives. This can be applied to all relationships (friends, family, co-workers, etc).
Another study found that people who smile were perceived as “more likable” and can therefore form better relationships. And another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that positive expressions like smiling predicted more “favorable outcomes” in life such as successful marriages and personal wellbeing and overall satisfaction.
Smiling Correlates to a Longer Life
It turns out the fountain of life might be sitting right below our noses. A 2010 study found that smiling and positive emotions are associated with increased life spans. If nothing else you read here has you convinced then perhaps this will generate a smile for you.
This same 2010 study looked at photographs of MLB players and rated the intensity of their smiles. They concluded that players who were perceived to be smiling fully and who expressed positive emotions were associated with longer life spans.
Kane Tanaka, (Pictured) the world's oldest living person, turned 119 years old in January of 2022.