Smile for Happiness

Smiles (or what appear to be smiles) are contagious. You can easily Stand Out from the Crowd by smiling, and at the same time, improve your happiness. In fact, smiling helps make you feel much much better emotionally, because it releases endorphins, brain chemicals that relieve pain and increase your feelings of contentment. Moreover, smiles are contagious, which means you can increase the happiness of others around you simply by sharing one, whether or not you know the person. If you'd like a very easy and effective way to lighten your own mood and the atmosphere around you, try smiling more, all for the sake of happiness.


  1. Consider the neuroscience behind the smile. People are attracted to other people who smile. We're compelled to spend more time around someone who smiles and to share in the feel-good chemicals their smile induces in us. Whereas, a frown will push aside others, for we're afraid of catching their negativity, which is contagious too. And which would you rather catch––the blues or a feeling of blissful joy? Laughter, an extension of smiles, is contagious too and those who love tend to attract us to their side too.[1] Did you ever notice that in television shows, you hear background laughter in parts of the show that aren't even that funny? That is because the producers know that laughter is contagious, and when the audience hears laughter, things seem funnier than they actually are. [2]
  2. Smile to stay positive. Smiles increase our feeling of well-being and sense of positivity. A test to show you how smiling keeps you positive is to smile, and then try to think of something negative, but keep trying to smile. You'll soon see that it is hard, usually too hard to do! When you smile, your body and mind are sending a message to you that everything is okay, and that life is great. Smiling can help get alleviate feeling down and depressed; indeed, practiced regular, it works better than any type of medication to relieve yourself of stress.
    • Smiling changes mood. When you're feeling sad, start smiling. Your mood will be elevated. Smiling tricks the body into changing your mood for the better.
  3. Smile to make yourself seem more successful. People who smile appear more confident, and are more likely to be promoted.[3] [4] This seems to happen because your cheery smile will put your boss into a happy mood, and you're more likely to be approached by many people, making you the workplace social butterfly, the "go-to" person who keeps morale high. In addition, smiling around your boss may make him or her feel more charitable (see below), making him or her more likely to see you as promotion-worthy material. Smile during meetings, and you will see that people will React Nicely when Insulted to you favorably (of course, do so within context––it isn't going to be so appropriate after a mid-year profit loss has just been announced!).
  4. Smile to look younger. Smiling can make you appear more youthful and may even take years off your real age.[5] The muscles used to smile lift up your face, which is one way to make you appear much younger. Moreover, simply by smiling you appear more youthful than adopting a dour, down-faced look all the time. Of course, don't force things––an unnatural and dramatic smile will cause people to worry about what you're up to! Just try to smile throughout the day naturally, thinking of pleasant things and sending out love to others as you smile. Some ways to increase the power of your smile (and hopefully your youthful twinkle) include:
  5. Smile to be more forgiving and more tolerant of frustration. It has been shown that unhappy people tend to be more antagonistic than happy people.[6] In order to reduce this sense of internal angst and outward frustration, cover your bothers with a smile. When you're intolerant of frustration, it can display itself outwardly on your face as sourness and in stiff body movements. Moreover, it wreaks havoc with your sense of peacefulness and leaves you in a horrid mood that lingers.[6] Of course, smiling your way through times of frustration should not be mistaken by others for being a pushover or indifferent––be considerate of the appropriateness of smiling on such occasions. And never use smiling to cover up your inner feelings of unhappiness about the direction that relationship problems are taking––smiles don't take place of proper communications and working out things together.
  6. Smile to be more kind and charitable to others. Using smiles to open yourself to others and appear welcoming will help to increase your feelings of kindness toward others.[6] Rightful righteousness involves being happy when you're helping others,[7] so you could interpret smiling as a way of helping others because it leads them to smile and feel good about themselves too! Go the Go an Extra Mile for Her; allow the cashier to keep the change, let the woman behind you cut you in line, avoid road rage, and do anything you can to act nicely and righteous toward others.[6] And all the while, just smile.
  7. Smile around your spouse. Happiness plays a strong role in marriage and its longevity prospects, as spouses are easily influenced by each other's moods. An increase in one spouse's positive outlook can easily boost the positive feelings of the other spouse (just as the reverse can also apply). The proximity of spouses to each other has been positively proven to influence each other extensively in this way. In the occurrence of a phenomenon known solely as "health concordance", the health behaviors of partners tend to influence each of the partners' good or bad habits including smiling. [6] As such, aim to influence each other in the most positive manner possible. As mentioned before though, don't cover up your feelings of frustration or unhappiness by pretending to smile things away––always leave the doors of communication open. A smile can ease your way into a difficult but necessary conversation...
  8. Smile to relieve stress. Smiling can be used as a quick relief from stress and as a habitual response to ward off stress long-term.[8] Easily shown on our faces, stress can etch itself into wrinkle and frown lines permanently if we don't find constructive ways around it. Smiling helps to prevent you from looking exhausted or overwhelmed. When you're stressed, as well as finding ways to lessen the stressors, try to put on a smile. Smiling might not solve the problems (you'll need to tackle the sources distinctly) but it will increase your sense of well-being, and you will appear happy. Moreover, you signal to your brain that you're feeling better than the stress wants you to feel. This can quickly reduce your feelings of stress, and stops you from transferring your stress to others, who can take a more positive cue from you instead. It's a virtuous cycle––when others are happy, you'll become happier too, and so on. You may even start laughing, and then others might too. Aim to turn around the stress every time and end in smiles and laughter instead.
  9. Smile for better health. It can feel hard to smile when you're feeling physically unwell, yet a smile can boost your immune system too by improving your general feelings of well-being.Moreover, smiling has good effects on your blood pressure, reducing it considerably (which also helps reduce feelings of stress). When you smile you become more relaxed, thus causing a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. And as already noted, smiling releases endorphins, your brain's natural pain relievers and serotonin. When these two brain chemicals work together, they increase your tolerance to pain and help increase your feelings of well-being. For those who are really able to tap into this, the feeling can be better than pain-relieving drugs! And if this hasn't been enough to convince you of the health effects of a good smile, consider that smilers live an average of seven years longer than non-smilers![9] So smile every day! Obviously you need to exercise, eat right, and live a healthy lifestyle, in addition to smiling. The conviction that you'll live longer can make you happier, because you believe that you have more years to be happy and to enjoy life.


  • A smiler lightens up the room that they are in, changes the moods of others for the better, and makes things happy just by smiling, because of the fact that laughter and smiling are contagious. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.
  • If stuck in an awkward moment, smile! It will show that you can simply laugh things off, and that you don't take everything seriously.
  • Laugh. Laughing is contagious much like smiling,[1] so be sure to add laughter to your day. And share that laughter around––as Dr Sophie Scott, from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL, says, "it’s absolutely true that ‘laugh and the whole world laughs with you’".[1]
  • Hugging also makes people happier when they're sad, because it gives of people a feeling of love, warmth, and security. Add some hugs to your smiles when seeking to cheer up a sad friend or family member.
  • Have regular deep and meaningful conversations to stay happy. A study by a psychologist at the University of Arizona has shown that spending less time participating in small talk and more time having deep, meaningful conversations can lead to an increased feeling of happiness.[10]

  • Wear clothes that smile. Add to your positive body language the color of happiness:
    • Yellow is the color for dependability. A soft yellow is non-threatening and friendly. Warm colors from the yellow family are welcoming.
    • Golds, browns, golden-oranges, are all dependable colors of friendship. Blues are passive and calm colors.
    • In the visual language, soft blues project a serenity and quiet peacefulness.
    • Avoid reds that may come off as aggressive or threatening.
  • Sidestep pretending to smile. People can see right through fake smiles as they always look forced. A real smile requires the eyes (a Duchenne smile). Read this article for help on how to smile authentically.

  • Be opimistic. Optimism and smiling go hand in hand; optimism boosts positive thinking, which in turn leads to an increased feeling of happiness.


  • Be aware that even though smiling may keep you healthy and help prevent sickness, proper medical attention is mandatory, as well as taking constructive, active approaches to dealing with your everyday life problems. Smiling doesn't make things go away, it just makes it easier for you to improve your resilience to cope and do what needs doing.
  • Smiling every single time that you are frustrated may make people think that you are a push-over. As stated above, smiles are not meant to be used to ingratiate yourself or to hide your real feelings long-term.
  • Never smile in order to increase tolerance of relationship problems, as this can cover up the real problems and could result in a broken relationship or cause you depression.
  • Do not smile to take advantage of people. If you're making someone do everything you ask just by smiling, stop. It's mean, and people will catch on and won't like you as much.
  • A fake smile can make you look phony, nervous, or even dangerous, so don't just try to put on a smile without first practicing or putting yourself in a happy state of mind. You can spot a fake smile from a genuine (or Duchenne) smile––a fake smile is one where the corners of the mouth aren't turned up, or the mouth is solely smiling, with no change at all in the eyes. You'll know it when you see it as you pick up the subtle body language cues that confuse you as to the smilers intention; and if it's you making the fake smile, check your emotions to know whether or not you mean the smile.
    • According to a recent study, faking happiness (and by implication perhaps smiles) may lead to sadness and depression.[11] Fake smiles have been shown to make your mood negative and cause you to procrastinate and withdraw from the tasks currently at hand. Women are generally more affected by putting on a brave face despite feeling terrible inside than men, as they're "more emotionally expressive" due to social norms, and cutting themselves off from this outlet can be very damaging emotionally.[12]

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