I am a firm believer that laughter is medicine. To smile is the beginning of laughter. So, what's the power in just a simple smile? Smiling is contagious. Go ahead and try it - smile at a stranger today and see what happens. All across the world humans smile. It's innate and one of our most human qualities.
But, what is happening inside our brain when we smile? Smiling stimulates reward pathways in our brain that increase feel good chemicals and decrease stress hormones. It also reduces blood pressure. It not only can lift your mood, it can make you more healthy.
Smiling also benefits others when you share it, by spreading your smile and the feel good stimulation that comes from it. A study from Penn Statue University found people who smile are perceived as more likable, courteous, and competent. Thus, increasing our positive social attributes and has potential to affect our life on a greater scale.
Shawn Achor in The Happiness Advantage made a case for practicing more positive thinking and smiling which ultimately creates a happiness loop. So, if smiling has such a profound effect in our lives and it's one thing in life that is absolutely free and one of the simplest things we can do - why not go out today and just smile. Smile to yourself and share it with others.
Check out this great Ted Talk by Ron Gutman on the power of a smile.