Two young women laughing

The Benefits of Smiling

It’s good to smile. It helps break down barriers in social settings by demonstrating that you’re friendly and approachable. In this way, smiling will benefit you personally and professionally.

Now here’s a really interesting thing about smiling — it can actually enhance your mood and even improve your health by reducing stress. These claims may sound outlandish, but they’re backed up by science.

The Science of Smiling

Studies indicate that the simple act of smiling can have a profound effect on your life. According to NBC News, it “can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.”

Even if your smile is forced and insincere, smiling triggers the release of chemicals in your brain called endorphins. These are neurotransmitters designed to provide relief in times of stress or trauma. That’s why endorphins are sometimes referred to as “nature’s painkillers.

When you reduce your stress levels, it benefits your overall health in a number of ways. That’s why smiling more often can actually make you healthier. In fact, “people who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease.”

Researchers at the University of Kansas came up with a clever way to demonstrate how smiling reduces stress. They had volunteers use chopsticks to force themselves to smile while performing a difficult task. These volunteers “experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery” compared to the research subjects who performed the same demanding task without using the chopsticks.

A group of friends at an event
Young people having fun at the beach

Smiling Makes You More Popular and Attractive to Others

Smiling is contagious. When you smile at people, about half of them will automatically smile back at you. This creates feelings of trust and warmth. According to a study conducted by researchers at Penn State University, people who work in service industries are judged to be friendlier and more effective by customers when they smile more often.

Smiling also makes you more physically attractive to others. People will consistently rate you as better-looking when you smile. In one study, respondents even said that people who smile look “around 3 years younger on average.”

Smiling for Success

In addition to making you more popular and attractive to others, smiling can also improve your financial success. Creating positive feelings in the people around will increase your social capital, which makes you likely to earn more money during your career.

A man and a woman smile on a coffee date. Their teeth are white and they're showing the benefits of smiling.