A smile is a facial expression inherent in us humans. We are all capable of moving our facial muscles to elicit the most used expression of smiling. Because it has become a universal and relatively easy expression to show, a smile is very much taken for granted by most of us as nothing more than just a mere expression and facial movement. We may not know it, but smiling can have many benefits to the one eliciting the smile and the individuals perceiving the smile. The benefits can range from emotional, health and even psychological.
How does a smile do wonders for our mind and psyche? First of all, a smile is associated with positive circumstances such as fun and celebration and positive emotion such as happiness and relief. We smile primarily because we are happy. Our happiness is not just limited as an emotional expression. It is a mental process that involves the brain processing a pleasant stimulus and sending signals to our facial muscles to elicit the reaction and expression called smiling. Happiness also increases the production of our “happy hormone” called endorphin. Endorphin is a chemical substance produced from our brains which gives us the feelings of happiness, elation, euphoria and the so-called “natural high”. These feelings in turn benefit our mental stability and psychological state.
Thus, when we smile, we become happy and have positivity. The positivity we perceive can make our mental processes work more efficiently. Other than heightening our happiness, a smile also serves as a sort of lubricant for our brains. The processing of information becomes smooth and seamless. When information coming to and from our brains is processed in such a way, we become mentally alert and our reaction time increases. Our elation and good feeling also translates into enhanced productivity at work and we exude a friendly and amicable aura to the people around us.
The benefit of our smile is not only limited to our own selves. Our smile can also have emotional and psychological benefits for other people. When we smile, we give off that contagious positivity within us to the people we give a smile to, and thus they smile back at us to reciprocate the positivity.
Smiling is also an expression of goodwill, respect and acknowledgment of other people. When other people see our smile, they perceive it as our expression of courtesy aside from our expression of happiness. When we are at a loss for words to greet other people, a simple smile and quick nod of the head can be enough to be understood as a greeting by other people. Our smile can be an effective means of lifting the spirits of people who need it – people who are sad, ailing and downtrodden. Our smile and gentle words can offer them comfort and reassurance.
A smile is not an expression for us to hold back. It is a free and easy expression to give. A smile can make our day, and it can also make someone else’s day. We can never tell, but our smile can change the world of someone. Thus, we should smile and the world will smile with us. Amen.