Today is National Smile Power, a day that celebrates just how powerful a smile is!
In his TED Talk, “The Hidden Power of Smiling,” Ron Gutman reviews several studies about smiling, and in doing so comes up with some surprising but wonderful results.
1. Smiles Can Measure Longevity
Ron describes studies that were done by looking at photographs and gauging how successful a person will be, based on their smile. Studying yearbook photos and comparing their theories with the real-life experiences of each subject proved that there’s a definite connection between those who smile broadly and those who don’t smile at all.
2. We Were Born Smiling
“Using 3D ultrasound technology,” Ron states, “we can now see that developing babies appear to smile, even in the womb. When they’re born, babies continue to smile, initially mostly in their sleep. Even blind babies smile at the sound of a human voice.”
A wide, bright smile is a predictor of a long life and marriage, for instance. In one study that looked at the smiles of professional baseball players on their official MLB cards, scientists were even able to accurately predict life span, based solely on how “beaming” their smiles were.
3. Most people smile more than twenty times each day.
Unless you’re a child, and then you smile up to four hundred times each day. No wonder being around children makes us happy!
Smiling is one of the most basic biological human expressions. Studies of Papua New Guinea tribes that are completely disconnected from western culture show that they smile the same way we do: they use smiling to express joy and satisfaction.
4. Smiling is contagious!
It’s evolutionary. Humans have evolved over time to mimic other people’s expressions in order to experience their emotion physically, helping us understand their emotional state.
5. The act of smiling actually makes us feel better.
Charles Darwin wrote about this phenomenon in his “Theory of Evolution,” describing how facial feedback helps us feel better when we smile. The physical act of smiling sends feedback to our brains, telling us we’re happy.
6. Smiling stimulates our brain better than chocolate.
Hard to believe, isn’t it? It’s true! Chemically speaking, one smile stimulates the human brain the same amount as eating up to 2000 bars of chocolate!
7. Smiling makes you healthier.
Smiling causes a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing mood-enhancing hormones and reducing high blood pressure. It also reduced stress chemicals. Not too shabby!
8. Smiling makes you look more attractive and competent.
Studies have shown that when you smile, you appear to be more likable, courteous, and competent. You’ll also reduce stress in whomever you’re smiling at.
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