Put on a smiley face ☺ (Week 2)

October 15, 2020

Source: “Smiley Face with Smiling Eyes” by Apple.com

Psychology Today in an article entitled: “The 9 Superpowers of Your Smile”1 noted that numerous researchers have already compiled a long list of the benefits of a smile, but after research by the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), two more reasons were added to the list. Here is what the research at UMKC discovered:

1. Smiling can make you look younger. The UMKC researchers tested the popular theory that smiling might cause others to perceive you as being younger than you actually are. Sure enough, in a small study, college students perceived older people who had happy smiles on their faces as looking younger than their age. The people with frowns on their faces were categorized as looking older.

2. Smiling can make you look thinner. A young psychology student at UMKC found that sad faces randomized and flashed on a computer screen were judged to be heftier, leaving one to only speculate that a mouth turned down in a frown might give the impression that a person is weighed down by unhappiness.

3. Smiling elevates your mood and creates a sense of well-being. As behavioral psychologist Sara Stevenson wrote in a blog: “Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain.” The Psychology Today article noted that the notorious party animals, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin start whopping it up when you smile.

4. Smiling induces more pleasure in the brain more than chocolate. According to Ron Gutman, the author of Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act, British researchers found that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate.

5. Even a forced smile can lead to a mood boost. While it is true that a positive experience is what makes us smile, it is also true that merely deciding to smile can provide positive experience.

6. Smile can predict fulfillment in marriage. In a study cited by Gutman, the Smile author, the smiles of students were measured, and these ultimately predicted how long lasting and satisfying the person’s marriage would be.

7. Smiling makes you seem courteous, likeable and competent. Those first two qualities seem logical, but how does smiling make you seem competent? Perhaps, if you look sad or anxious, perhaps others wonder if you know what you are doing.

8. Span of a person’s smile can predict life span. A 2010 Wayne State University Research project studied pre-1950s major league player baseball cards. According to Gutman, “The researchers found that the span of a player’s smile could actually predict the span of his life. Players who didn’t smile in their pictures lived an average of only 72.9 years while players with beaming smiles lived an average of almost 80 years.

9. Smiling is contagious! A smiling person can light up a room. If you like to help others and lift the spirits of everyone, just smile.

1Source: Meg Selig, The 9 Superpowers of Your Smile, Psychology Today, May 2016.

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