Having just read Ron Gutman's "Smile : The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act" I have learnt some amazing things about the power of a little grin...
1. Smiling makes you happpy.
This may seem pretty obvious but if scientists are talking about it then it must be serious. fMRI (functioning magnetic resonance imaging - pretty coloured brain scans) have shown that smiling modifies neural processing, which "turns on" the "happy parts" of your brain.
2. Smiling makes you run faster.
Smiling helps a more rapid return to the baseline of cardiovascular activity, which in turn boost energy, I don't smile much while running, will try and let you know how I get on.
3. Smiling reduces stress.
By reducing stress-inducing hormones and replacing them with happiness hormones such as endorphins and oxytxin.
4. Smiling helps you skydive.
Yep, it relaxes muscles and helps skydivers hold a natural position in a somewhat tense situation, can't imagine myself smiling while leaping out of a plane but there you go.
5. Smiling helps you live longer.
Michigan University studied baseball card photos and found the biggest grinners lived longer.
6. Smiling increases the length and quality of marriages.
A Berkeley University longtitudal study showed the happiset smiles in college yearbooks translated years later into the greatest feelings of wellbeing and longest-lasting marriages. Whether the thought of your marriage lasting another fifty years makes you smile is another matter.
7. Smiling is good for business.
Waitresses get up to 140% higher tips and clients are more satisfied with smiles. According to Howard Morgan entrepreneurs who smile a lot a more likely to get funding, wonder if that works with payrises??
8. We look more attractive, people think we are friendlier, politer and more efficient when we smile.
Which explains why everyone shouts "cheese" on photos, we all want to look as good as possible when preserving that moment for eternity.
9. Smiles are contagious.
I know from experience this is true, if I walk into a class of grumpies who are wishing they were anywhere else, I pretend to be looking for something for a few minutes, and smile to myself and to anyone whose eye I catch, sloowly the atmosphere changes for the better.
Unless I'm in a bad mood too, in that case I punish the first one to blink.
10. Smiling forces you to concentrate on the here and now.
Which is, according to the gladness gurus, where it's all at.
If this post has made you smile, then pass it on, here's how.