I have noticed since this Covid-19 pandemic that few people are smiling in public anymore. Especially in grocery stores. While understandable given the huge amount of uncertainty some people are feeling, a simple smile can go a long way to make stressful situations more pleasant. It connects us to each other, almost as if to say, “I see you. We are in this together.”
Turns out, smiling (even if it's fake) might also have some incredible health benefits for you.
Researchers at the University of Cardiff in Wales have found that even forcing a smile has the ability to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and boost your immune system. Apparently, smiling can trick your brain into thinking you are happy (even if you aren’t) and happiness is the key to a healthy life.
Doctors who study the science of psychoneuroimmunology (study of how the brain is connected to the immune system) have been able to prove without a doubt that depression weakens our immune system. On the flip side, research has shown that happiness has the ability to boost our body’s innate resistance.
To put it bluntly, the physical act of smiling can help build up your immunity - and it doesn’t cost a thing. You don’t even have to be happy, you just have to smile. Even forcing a smile will reduce stress and calm the body internally. We think that smiling stems from our happiness (which is sometimes true) but it has also been found to be true that smiling first, can also produce genuine joy.
A smile is a gift to yourself and the world around you and it's highly contagious. Over the next few days try to make it a habit to smile for no reason throughout the day. Whether you feel like it or not. See if you feel happier. Then take it further and smile at every person you see. Take notice if it makes them smile back. This is how smiling goes viral.
Are you smiling as you read this?