You’re having a bad day and make a stop at the supermarket. While rolling down an aisle and turning the corner, you almost slam into another cart. You look up and a stranger smiles at you and motions for you to turn. And you, in turn, smile back. Suddenly, you feel a little better, right? Well, there’s science behind all of this.
Even when you, seemingly, have no reason to smile, just by moving those “smiling muscles” your mood will improve. As researched, “Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure” (Savitz).
In addition to the health benefits, smiling enhances our sociability. “A recent Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent” (Savitz).
It may feel a bit silly at first, but next time you’re out in public try putting a smile on your face regardless of how you’re feeling that day and see what happens. And also keep in mind you could be that stranger in the supermarket to someone and make his or her day feel a little better.
Source: Savitz, Eric (2011). The untapped power of smiling. Forbes.