The Health Benefits of Smiling

By Sam Hacker – March 28, 2022

When looking for quotes about smiling, the amount is almost overwhelming. Everyone agrees that smiling is important, helps others, uplifts your spirits, turns your day from good to better to best. But why? What is it about smiling—a true smile—that helps others and yourself?

There are multiple health benefits, and the research behind smiles is an overwhelming amount. Much of the studies and research talk about the scientific background on the different types of smiles, why smiles benefit us, different circumstances smiles appear in and even how smiling makes you more attractive.

Smiling Correlates to Life Stability

Research done by the Association for Psychological Science explores the idea that people who experience, or even portray, positive emotions instead of negative ones are happier and their lives are more stable. Their marriages, personalities and interpersonal skills all become more stable and positive throughout their life. 

A woman smiling.

Smiling Enhances Interpersonal Connection

It’s not only physically healthy to smile, but it will improve our mental state, social life and relationships with ourselves. So even when it’s hard, John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital explains that “we connect in a physical way when we share a smile or a positive emotion,” and smiling may feel like a breath of fresh air for yourself and the people around you. 

However, even when you struggle to have small talk, giving genuine smalls can be more effective than just giving polite smiles. According to the Association for Psychological Science, all participants of the conversation will feel more relaxed and understanding when met with genuine smiles.

A man smiling.

Smiling Increases Happiness

Another benefit of smiling is that it provides just what you wish to feel. According to Hill Country Oral Surgery, smiles not only give you the appearance of being happy but can actually make you feel truly feel happy. So the old adage of “fake it till you make it” actually has scientific truth to it.

Smiling can actually trigger our endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, helping you feel more relaxed and less stressed. Hill Country Oral Surgery even suggests that since serotonin and dopamine are associated with antidepressant feelings, smiling can help you feel less depressed.

A man laughing and smiling.

Smiling Increases Longevity

According to the Society of Psychological Science, smiling can even increase longevity. The International Association of Applied Psychology published a study showcasing when people acted optimistic, even if they did not feel as such, the researchers could predict longevity and health. 

In addition, a Norwegian study claims that women who are positive in life, whether it be through humor or just smiling, live longer than women who don’t. In fact, women were “73% less likely to die from heart disease and 83% less likely to die from infection.” So even if it’s tough to grin sometimes, there are some health benefits that come with smiling. 

Woman with sunglasses smiling.

Smiling Is Contagious 

While smiling doesn’t just benefit yourself, some of those health benefits can also spread to others. According to research by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people mimic each other. This doesn’t mean just small children making faces at each other, but rather when people act happy or smile for themselves, this can spread to others, creating a cascading movement where everyone can reap the health benefits of smiling.

Close up of someone smiling.

As psychologist J. Ibeh Agbanyim says in Psychology Today, “Our brain remembers pleasant emotions and how people make us feel. Nothing improves a relationship more than politeness and a healthy smile.” 

So even when things are hard, take a moment and smile at the world around you because it might be more beneficial than you think.

 
 

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