Smile Power: 7 Scientifically Proven Reasons Why Optimism Will Save Your Life
A little optimism can go a long way. October 7th is World Smile Day (yes it’s a real thing), and there’s never been a better time or a better excuse to flash a grin. Whether you tend to smile from ear to ear or you opt for a more subdued smirk, the fact is that smiling is really good for your health, your happiness, your relationships and your life.
You’ve probably heard that if you want to lift your mood, all you need to do is turn your frown upside down. It’s not an old wives tale. In fact, scientific proof shows that an optimistic outlook improves your state of mind and has the power to improve your day, your emotional state and even your future. According to the Harvard Health Publications, “optimism helps people cope with disease and recover from surgery. Even more impressive is the impact of a positive outlook on overall health and longevity. Research tells us that an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years.”
Smiling and an optimistic attitude are powerful tools.
Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., psychologist and author, argues, “Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited. The feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.”
That might sound like a lot of fancy scientific terms that you’ll never fully understand or remember, but here’s the bottom line: smiling and having a positive attitude are REALLY, REALLY good for you.
Now, let’s say you’re having a rough day and quite frankly, you don’t feel like smiling. Now what? Well, good news—even a fake smile has the power to positively impact your physical and emotional well-being. So as they say, grin and bear it, and rest assured that things are about to look up. Or, fake it until you make it!
Here are 7 reasons why optimism, even if it’s just a quick smile, can change your entire outlook and maybe even save your life.
1. Smiling Is Contagious
Do you ever notice that when people around you are happy, you tend to feel better as well? It’s not all in your head; smiling and optimism are actually contagious. That’s because your brain tends to automatically mimic a positive facial expression when it sees it, so when someone smiles at you, you smile back. Smiling then, produces a universal gut reaction. When you smile, the world smiles back.