As much as you can!
Smiling will make you feel better and stay positive. Make yourself smile and then think of something negative without letting go of the smile. It’s not easy because smiling is the body’s way to say everything is OK.
Find out what are the benefits of putting more smiles in your day. For example, smiling lowers your blood pressure.
Even if you have real negative reasons for being sad, forcing a fake smile on your face will make it better. Research by Tara Kraft shows that if you are not even aware that you are making a smiley face, your body knows and reacts accordingly.
Smiling showed widespread effects on cardiovascular recovery, with the smiling groups, regardless of awareness or type of smile, consistently returning closer to baseline levels of cardiovascular activity at the end of the recovery periods following both stress tasks. ~ Kraft 2011
In business, less stress translates to more productivity. In life, smiling more leads to a larger network. When you combine those results, you will improve your life and have even more reasons to smile.
Smiling makes you healthier
Smiling improves your immune system by releasing endorphins and making you more relaxed. Fight cold and flu with smiling. For the same reason, smiling also lowers your stress levels.
In one study, all smiling participants, regardless of whether they were aware of smiling, had lower heart rates during stress recovery than the neutral group did. There was a slight advantage for those with Duchenne smiles.
But that is not all smiling can reduce your blood pressure, and it acts as a natural painkiller making us feel better.
Smiling also reduces recovery time for patients who smile daily.
On the other hand, one study showed that patients who can’t smile due to facial muscle disorders are at increased risk of depressive symptoms as they lack emotional feedback from smiling and cannot communicate positive emotion.
Drug yourself with smiling.
No risk of overdose!
Smiling makes you more likable
From social aspects, smiling will make your communications with others easier. It signals that you are someone who is pleasant and poses no threat. Smiling people also seem more successful, and this is a trait other like to associate with. Smiling is contagious, and in no time the whole group will be in a happier mood making social encounters more pleasant and fluid.
If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it. ~ Andy Rooney
Smile while you exercise
Other research results show that smiling increases endurance while exercising.
I have tested it when I run on a treadmill. When my heart rate goes above the level, I want it to be, then I smile. I have had the heart rate drop by 5 to 10 beats per minute. For example, from 140 to 135 or even 130.
Another study found similar results when athletes were thinking about the people they love during their performance.
Of course, you run a risk people will think you are weird if you grin all the time you run or exercise. Subtle smile is enough.
Start your day with a smile
Smile, whether you like it or not. Put a note on your bedside table or bathroom mirror that reminds you to smile. Take a minute and smile no matter what. If you are going through a particularly rough patch in your life, fake it until you make it.
Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you’ll live — and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being? Prepare to flex a few facial muscles as you learn more about this evolutionarily contagious behavior.
One habit I have developed lately is to smile while meditating. No other changes, just a touch of a smile. I don’t know if it improves anything, I have no science to back this up, but it feels great.
Smile at least 10 times every day:
- Greet everybody with a smile
- Smile to yourself in the mirror
- Smile to your boss
- Smile to your family
- Smile to strangers (Random Acts of Kindness)
- Smile to co-workers
- The clerk at the store also deserves a smile.
Start and finish your tasks with a smile. Some statistics tell us that children smile over 400 times a day. Where have we lost all your smiles? Let’s get the smiles back and enjoy the benefits of this natural high.
There’s the fake smile and a real smile. Even the fake one works to improve your mood. However, always find ways to put real friendly emotion in your smiles.
Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things. – Kenneth Branagh
Here are some benefits of smiling and laughing
Smiling improves your mood, even if it’s a fake smile. One study found that smiling helps to increase the positive mood when thinking about negative things (Change Negative Self-Talk).
Smile to relieve stress. Research has shown that there are psychological and physiological benefits of smiling during stressful events.
Laughter therapy increases the immune responses found in a study that focused on women after childbirth.
This seems like a no-brainer, but people with positive emotions are more likable. This means you have better relationships and stronger support network that will make you more positive. Then the positive feedback loop kicks in and your life will improve significantly.
More likable people have stronger marriages and better interpersonal skills. Smiling will also lead to longevity, as the same study found. Another study about happiness and longevity in the United States found that Happiness predicts longevity net of covariates, including SES. Happy people live longer.
Laughter is a pain medication that significantly raises the pain threshold. The likely reason is the endorphin release triggered by laughter. The study found that the pain tolerance is due to laughter itself, not the positive state of mind it created.
How to laugh more?
Laughing is harder to force than a smile. Try it anyway. Watch funny videos on Youtube. Read and learn jokes to make your family and friends laugh, improve the lives of everyone around you.
You know those cat videos on the Interweb?
Yep, watch more of those.
Maybe cat videos are not your thing?
Find something that is. Watch standup comedies that work for you. When you have a break, spend some of that to watch 5 to 10 minutes of something that really makes you laugh.
For example, this video of how to identify a mad cow gets me every time:
Read jokes. Collect jokes. If you find a joke that makes you laugh, share that with your friends. Social laughter is even more beneficial. Maybe they will tell you their jokes, and you have something new to put in your joke collection. In no time, you will be the funny person in your group.
What kind of exercise do lazy people do?
I get plenty of exercise — jumping to conclusions, pushing my luck, and dodging deadlines.
Anton, do you think I’m a bad mother?
My name is Paul.
I thought I’d tell you a good time-travel joke – but you didn’t like it.
Interviewer: List some of your accomplishments.
Candidate: I’m a former child.
Read a funny book. There are a lot of those, one of my all-time favorites is the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Good Omens form Terry Pratchett is another great one.
Brute force yourself to smile. Simply force your smiling muscles to work and keep that expression for some time. If you can then try to focus on positive thoughts during that exercise. Or you can focus on the people who positively influence your life.
If you are not smiling all the time, then you still have room for improvement. Fill your life with laughter and smiles, and you will improve your outlook on life and those around you.
Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life. – Yoko Ono
Smiling improves your productivity and leads to better results in your work. Better results let you focus on what you love. It can be your family and friends, a hobby, or more work if you feel like it. Better life in turn leads to more smiling.
Smiling gives you more options.
Now smile, because you can and make a note that says “Smile!”, and put it where you can see it!
Image: Jackie Martinez (#31103) by Mark Sebastian
Image: Andy Rooney by Stephenson Brown
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