I started to think about the power of a smile when I read this week, that July 14th has been designated as the happiest day of the year, making it the day in which the most smiles will be seen according to leading psychologist, Dr Cliff Arnall, a former Cardiff University lecturer and now an NHS advisor on happiness and wellbeing.
Arnall arrived at this date for happiness to reach its peak, using a formula that looks at key factors such as emotional connectedness, kindness, authenticity, family, friends and fun. The end of the working week, coinciding with the start of the summer holidays along with thousands of teenagers who are more relaxed as they have come to the end of their examinations all contributes, says Arnall to more relaxed domestic environments, making us all feel happier. All hail July 14th and smiles in abundance!
Returning to the impact of this universally recognised expression, which in itself makes smiling powerful, I’m interested in what smiling actually does for us and I thought some of you might be too. It’s a topic that’s been widely researched by scientists who have proven that smiling is really good for our health and includes a whole range of benefits.
Here are five great reasons to smile:
1. A true, genuine smile (known as the ‘Duchenne smile’ where the main cheek muscles pull up either side of our mouth and work in harmony with the muscles that surround each eye, creasing up the skin around the eye) causes positive physiological changes in our bodies and has been referred to as ‘smizing’ (smiling with the eyes). Smiling in this way can:
- improve resilience against stress
- strengthen our immune system
- create a sense of wellbeing and positivity
- release endorphins and serotonin: hormones which are natural painkillers and a feel-good hormone respectively.
2. Smiling is contagious. Try it. Be the first person to smile in a room full of strangers. A guarantee is that somebody will smile back at you.
3. The more you smile the more you enable your brain to re-wire to make positive patterns as opposed to the brain’s natural tendency towards negative patterns, creating what has been referred to as a ‘happiness loop’
4. Smiling costs nothing but can reap so many rewards fitting with the old adage that the best things in life are free but worth so much.
5. Even on days where we don’t feel like smiling, it’s reassuring to know that a ‘fake’ smile can still achieve some of the same positive effects upon our brains.
So……. leaving you with those reasons to smile, let’s practice some real ‘smizing’ and never underestimate the power of your smile.
Take a moment to smile at this video and pass it on!