The science of smiling
Smiling has proven psychological and medical benefits. It evokes a feeling of happiness.
When you smile, your zygomaticus major muscle and orbicularis oculi muscle contract. It triggers the release of happy hormones or endorphins. These hormones transmit signals to your facial muscles. When these muscles contract, endorphins increase. This is the reason why people feel happy when they smile. In fact, even a fake smile can alter your brain’s emotional processing pathway to make you feel happy.
For instance, when you are having a hard time absorbing the lecture in an IELTS review center in Cebu because you are in a bad mood, you can trick your brain to feeling happy by smiling.
Five surprising benefits of smiling
1. It helps reduce stress. Research shows that smiling decreases heart rate and fastens stress recovery. This was evident in a study conducted by scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman of the University of Kansas. They asked 169 participants to hold chopsticks in their mouth in three different formations after a stressful task. Results revealed that participants who had the biggest smile recovered faster from stress.
In your case, you do not need chopsticks to de-stress. Once you start to feel the weight of the practice tests in an IELTS review center in Cebu, you can fake a smile to increase your happy hormones. This practice encourages more positive thinking patterns that will help you enjoy and focus more on the lectures.
2. It begets positive aura. Smiling influences people’s impression about you. If you want to make new friends in a review center for IELTS, smile more often. Studies show that smiling can make you appear more approachable and trustworthy.
According to Shmidt, et al. in their journal “Intensity of Smiling and Attractiveness as Facial Signal of Trustworthiness in Women,” the bigger a person’s smile, the more trustworthy he/she seems. When you smile, you give off a warm and welcoming impression.
3. It is contagious. Try smiling at strangers to test if it can really influence their behavior. There is a high probability that when you smile at people, they will smile back at you.
You can do this during trainings in the review center for IELTS. Spread positive vibes in the classroom by smiling at your classmates. This way, your cortisol, or the stress hormone, will be reduced while your endorphins increase.
4. It increases productivity. When you are happy, you are driven to work.
According to Prof. Andrew Oswald of the Warwick Business School, smiling produces a positive emotion. This emotion then invigorates the body, driving people to work harder.
5. It helps strengthen your immune system. Smiling lowers your heart rate, reduces blood pressure and relaxes the body. Studies show that people who smile and laugh often are less likely to incur heart diseases. Moreover, endorphins released in the body serve as natural painkillers.
Next time, when you experience a headache while listening to a discussion in an IELTS review center in Cebu, just “smile” away.
- "What's the science behind a smile?" British Council. Accessed January 25, 2017. https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/famelab-whats-science-behind-smile.
- Widrich, Leo. "The Science of Smiling: A Guide to The World's Most Powerful Gesture." Buffer Social. April 01, 2016. Accessed January 25, 2017. https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-smiling-a-guide-to-humans-most-powerful-gesture.
- Hall, Alena. "11 Surprising Reasons You Should Smile Every Day." The Huffington Post. February 08, 2015. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/08/smiling-benefits_n_6598840.html.
- Reddy, Sumathi. "Stress-Busting Smiles." The Wall Street Journal. February 25, 2013. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887323699704578326363601444362.
- "Grin and Bear It! Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery." Association for Psychological Science. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/smiling-facilitates-stress-recovery.html#.WIgwgNJ97cs.
- "Intensity of smiling and attractiveness as facial signals of trustworthiness in women." Perceptual and motor skills. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Accessed January 25, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22913033.
- Mann, Natasha. "Benefits of smiling." Netdoctor. May 26, 2009. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-living/wellbeing/a10633/benefits-of-smiling/.
- Detweiler, Alyssa. "9 Surprising Reasons Why You Should Smile More." Inspiyr.com. August 08, 2014. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://inspiyr.com/9-benefits-of-smiling/.
- Smith, Jennifer. "7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know about." Lifehack. Accessed January 25, 2017. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/7-benefits-smiling-and-laughing.html.
- Pulsipher, Charlie. "15 of the Best and Free Health Benefits of Smiling." Sunwarrior. December 04, 2014. Accessed January 25, 2017. https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/15-health-benefits-of-smiling.
The author works at an IELTS review center in Cebu City at the moment. She was once a computer instructor in CA. She likes to travel in numerous nations and loves photography.