The benefits of a smile

A smile, even a fake smile, can have many positive effects on the people around you, such as gaining trust and making new friends. It might even make you feel a lot better too.

The benefits of a smile

photo credit: Sukanto Debnath via photopin cc

He shouted for silence from his companions, and then turned to me with the widest and most radiant smile I’d ever seen.

‘Good mornings, great sirs!’ he greeted us. ‘Welcome in Bombay! You are wanting it cheap and excellent hotels, isn’t it?’

He stared straight into my eyes, that enormous smile not wavering. There was something in the disk of his smile—a kind of mischievous exuberance, more honest and more excited than mere happiness—that pierced me to the heart. It was the work of a second, the eye contact between us. It was just long enough for me to decide to trust him—the little man with the big smile. I didn’t know it then, but it was one of the best decisions of my life.

Gregory David Roberts. Shantaram.

Have you noticed that people who smile tend to be surrounded by a lot of people (and it’s not because they’re thinking, ‘What’s that wise guy smiling about?’)? The reason is that being in their company is pleasant. After all, you broadcast your emotional state from your facial expression. Some researchers have discovered links between how intensively people smile and the quality of their relationships, and even claim to be able to predict how long people will live from old photographs of people smiling.

Also, when you focus on smiling, you reduce your stress levels, encouraging more peaceful and relaxed sensations. By putting a smile on your face, you automatically begin to lift your mood. You don’t even have to be genuinely smiling – begin by just faking it and see what happens!

Shamash Alidina. Mindfulness for dummies.

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