9 Reasons to Smile for World Smile Day

Smiling is a universal sign of happiness that crosses all borders. It's also free, makes you feel good, and is contagious and easy to share. Here are even more reasons you should turn that frown upside down.

Smiling helps your heart and mood

smileChrisMilesPhoto/ShutterstockSmiling can help reduce your heart rate and lower stress when compared to those who maintain a straight-face, discovered researchers from the University of Kansas. Apparently, the facial muscles that are used for smiling trigger your brain for happiness and calm—even if you're faking it. "It's not just that our brains are happy," explained lead researcher Sarah Pressman, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Kansas, "If you're happy, you perceive stress differently and feel less threatened." Here are more reasons to smile every day.

Smiling makes you more trustworthy

fist-bumpNong Mars/ShutterstockIn a University of Pittsburgh study from 2012, researchers wanted to see if there was a connection between a person's perceived level of trustworthiness based on the intensity of their grin. The participants then ranked 45 subjects showing that the bigger and brighter the grin, the more trustworthy they appeared. Find out five other subtle habits that help get others to trust you.

Smile because there's a World Smile Day

smilingAlliance/ShutterstockWorcester, Massachusetts-based commercial artist Harvey Ross Ball created "World Smile Day" in 1999. The annual day would land on the first Friday in October. Believe it or not, Harvey Ball created the "Smiley Face," also known as the "Happy Face" or "Smiling Face," in 1963. He created it to boost morale at the State Mutual Life Assurance Company in Worcester, where he was employed. (Check out the strange story behind his creation.) Ball created the annual event as a reminder for everyone to stop taking themselves so seriously all the time and be happy every once in a while. The Harvey Ball Foundation—a non-profit charitable trust, which was created after his death in 2001 at age 79—continues to celebrate every year to "make as many people as possible aware of World Smile Day by using the web, social media, and your help to encourage smiles and acts of kindness around the world." Here are more unknown and wacky days to make you smile.

Content continues below ad

Smiling can help you see the "big picture"

mountainseverst/ShutterstockSmiling can help you gain perspective on making better decisions in your life and work, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Consumer Research. "We argue that by signaling that a situation is benign, a positive mood allows people to distance themselves psychologically from the situation," reports the study's co-authors Aparna Labroo of the University of Chicago and Vanessa Patrick of the University of Georgia. "Psychological distancing results in taking a broader perspective, or seeing the big picture," leading to "higher level thinking." Here are more strategies on how to make a good decision.

Smiling can reduce pain

smilemimagephotography/ShutterstockWhen you use your facial muscles to smile, it sends a signal to your brain to release serotonin and endorphins, which are the chemicals associated with feeling good and happy. These chemicals can also reduce the perception of pain.

Smiling can help you land a job

interviewGeorge Rudy/ShutterstockEmployers aren't just looking for qualified candidates for the job, they are also looking for people who would get along with the existing staff. Being happy can help you get hired, because it might show you're a good fit for the company. Check out the secrets your boss won't tell you—but you need to know.

Content continues below ad

Smiling makes you more approachable

friendsRawpixel.com/ShutterstockGenuine ear-to-ear grins shared between servers at a restaurant influenced the mood of the customers around them, found in a study at Penn State University in 2004. The smiling employees were seen as positive and more likable and better at their jobs than people with blank expressions or frowns on their faces.

Smiling boosts your immune system

hospitalantoniodiaz/ShutterstockAside from boosting your mood, smiling can also boost your immune system. The act of smiling (even fake smiling) relaxes your body, decreases stress, and lowers blood pressure, which can make your immune system stronger and more balanced. Here are 12 other habits that will boost your immune system.

Smiling can make your brain healthier

smilingMax4e Photo/ShutterstockYour brain works like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Believe it or not, scientists believe the brain's natural tendency is to think negatively, but smiling on a regular basis can help rewire the brain to be more positive. You don't even have to be happy, you can fake it and still get the same result of positively in a happiness feedback loop. According to Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, our "brain to scan for the good things in life–to help us see more possibility, to feel more energy, and to succeed at higher levels. He continues, "Happiness is a work ethic (is) something that requires our brains to train just like an athlete has to train." Don't miss these fascinating facts about your brain we bet you didn't know.

Content continues below ad

View as Slideshow

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.