Smile is a very important facial expression that has many healthy and social benefits. Smile is used as a means of communication throughout the entire world. Usually people expresses through smile pleasure, amusement, happiness. Take a look at this list with 30 interesting facts about this so common, yet so valuable facial expression.
1. We get born with the ability of smiling
Scientists believes that all babies are born with the smiling ability, even the blind ones. Babies start smiling in their sleep immediately after they get born.
2. Is universally understood
Smile is globally recognized. Squinting eye reaction, baring the teeth, or flexing the muscles near both ends of the mouth are generally recognized as signs of happiness.
3. Has some cultural differences
In Western society smiling is very valuable. People who smile make a better impression. In North America smiling is a sign of happiness, but in the same time is a sign of confidence and a tool to build relationships.
In many Asian cultures smiling is often the sign of embarrassment. In Thailand smiling is the most appropriate reaction to any possible situation. Japanese usually use smile to undercover shame. Japanese don’t like to express their feelings because it is considered a weak point. Although they smile when they are happy, Russian and German people consider it out of politeness to smile without a good reason.
Photos source: thai-blogs
Researcher Paul Ekman and his colleagues from University of California in San Francisco identified 19 different types of smiles. They also categorized the smiles into two basic categories: polite or “social” smiles and genuine, happy “felt” smiles.
5. The most sincere smile comes from the eyes
The most genuine smile is known as the “Duchenne smile”. Duchenne de Boulogne was a French neurologist that lived in the 19th century. He was the first who demonstrated that for a smile resulting from true happiness people utilize not only the muscles of the mouth, but also those of the eyes.
6. Is a natural drug
Smiling and laughing act as painkillers. Many studies have shown that when we smile we release endorphins (natural painkillers) and serotonin (a very important component in regulating the mood, sleep, appetite, and sexuality).
7. More pleasant than chocolate
British researchers found in a study that seeing a smile provides the same level of brain stimulation and heart activity as up to 2,000 chocolate bars. The study also revealed that the amount of pleasure depends on who is smiling. A child’s smile had a much better effect than that of a politician.
8. Boosts the immune system
Smiling improves the physical condition by relaxing the body. On long term, it can helps us have a stronger immunity.
9. Lowers blood pressure
Smile can help persons suffering from hypertension to reduce the blood pressure.
10. Changes our mood
According to a theory called facial feedback hypothesis, facial expression can intensify our feelings. Psychologists found that if we force ourselves to smile we can lift our mood slightly.
11. Reduces stress
Positive emotions have an effect on stress. The endorphins released when we are smiling cause a positive emotion and help us reduces stress.
12. Smiling affects tone of voice
When we smile the palate at the back of our mouth raises and makes the sound more fluid. Smiling is a good way to keep a friendly conversation on the phone because our tone of voice will be warm and positive.
13. Increases attention
When we are nervous or stressed our attention tends to narrow. We stop noticing what is happening around and we can focus only on the thing in front of us. Smiling counteracts stress and, thus, helps us stay focused.
14. Produces empathy
When we smile in an embarrassing situation, we can make the other person empathize with us.
15. Encourages trust
A genuinely smile works like a signal that suggests we are trustworthy, or we can trust in someone. According to a study by Jorn P.W. Scharlemann (2001) smile increased people’s willingness to trust with around 10%.
16. Is contagious
Humans have a subconscious innate drive to smile when they see one. This reaction happens also when we see a stranger smile, even if we don’t have the intention to connect with that person.
Two studies at Uppsala University in Sweden confirmed that smile is contagious and that people had difficulty frowning when they were seeing other subjects smiling.
18. As stimulating as cash
British researchers also found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds Sterling ($25,000) in cash. This one is to remember!
19. Makes us look good in the eyes of others
According to a Penn State University study when we smile we appear more likeable and even more competent.
20. Increases Productivity
Smile relaxes and can increase people’s motivation to work harder.
21. Makes us look younger
According to German researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Berlin smiling people appeared for the participants at the study, younger with about 3 years.
22. Increases longevity
Smile has important benefits for our body including keeping us healthy for longer. According to a study made by Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger it seems that if we smile often we gain up to 7 years of life.
23. Children smile most often
Children smile as many as 400 times per day.
24. Older women smile less than younger women
25. Women smile more frequently than men
Many researches had shown that women smile more often than men. Psychologists Taylor Wondergem and Mihaela Friedlmeier studied more than 18,000 yearbook photos and the conclusion of the study confirmed that women smile more frequently and more broadly than men.
26. Men find women more attractive when they smile
A Canadian study made on 1,084 heterosexual men and women found that men find women more attractive when they smile. When they look proud and confident women were found less attractive.
However, the study explored only the first impressions and not the possibility for the participants to chose a partner from the people they studied.
27. Women find men less attractive when they smile
The same Canadian study has found that, at first impression, women find men less attractive when they smile. The explanations can be that smiling men are usually considered feminine and less dominant.
28. Smile is better than make-up
A research study by Orbit Complete discovered that 69% of people find a smiling woman more attractive than a makeup-wearing, non-smiling one.
29. Exercises the face
When we smile we use between 5 and 53 facial muscles, an exercise that helps prevent sagging skin.
30. Size matters
It seems that it is important not only to smile to feel good, but to smile as wider as you can to feel even better.
A simple conclusion: don’t forget to smile! You can even try counting how many times a day you naturally smile.
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