Mona Lisa is one of the most recognized and beloved of all paintings. And if you ask folks why they love this painting, they'll almost always tell you it's because of her unique smile.
It should come as no surprise, then that the smile symbol was rated with the highest positive emotional content. In 2011, researchers in Scotland found that both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled, than those who didn't. It's been said many times that a smile is the most important thing you wear. Too, smiling creates greater trust and increased interpersonal cooperation. And smiling makes people feel relaxed.
We all enjoy being around happy people (and frogs). It's been proven that smiling, even when you're not feeling happy, can actually make you feel happier. Every time you smile, you throw a "feel good" party in your brain. The act of smiling activates a kind of neural massaging that benefits both your health and your happiness. Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work to lower stress as well as lower blood pressure and heart rate. Additionally, the neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are also released each time you smile. An did you know that endorphins are a 100% natural pain-reliever? They are! Serotonin, released when you smile, is an anti-depressant and mood lifter. As Thich Nhat Hanh once said, "Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy."
And to top it all off, smiling can boost your morale and build confidence! Smiling is contagious, but it's the one thing than no one minds catching. A Swedish study actually proved this. Test subjects were shown pictures of people displaying several different emotions; sadness, anger, joy, fear, and surprise. When the picture of someone smiling was presented, the researchers asked the subjects to frown. Instead, they found that the facial expressions of those viewing the image went directly to imitating what the subjects saw...a smile! It took real conscious effort for them to frown. So if you smile at someone, you can be pretty sure that they'll smile back. Smiling creates a symbiotic relationship with the person you're smiling at. You both become more attractive and smiling will increase the chance that both of you will live longer, healthier lives. You can't ask for more than that. But wait. There is more. You can use a smile to diffuse a tense situation, too!
The best way to celebrate Smile Power Day is to smile. I suggest smiling at every person you meet. Then, they will smile back at you and, hopefully, will smile at someone else who will then smile back and so on. Let's create a smile chain reaction that will encircle and brighten up the whole world. We can...and it starts with you.
And don't forget use #SmilePowerDay on all your social media.