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The Power of Smile

Wong Shu Lee  

|

  October 06, 2022

The first Friday of October is World Smile Day, which falls on October 7 this year. Created by a commercial artist named Harvey Ball, this day came about as a response to his creation of the smiley face. 

 

Harvey worried that the commercialization of the symbol would lessen its impact. We can hardly blame him for his estimation; the emoji has been used in many ways, including in clothing, comic books, coffee mugs, pins, and more. These little yellow faces are more than just a symbol, they’re a statement about the power of smiling. 

 

Throughout the years, the smiley face has become one of the most well-known symbols in the world. It has appeared in movies such as ‘Forest Gump’ and is used as a motif in the graphic novel, ‘Watchmen.’ It’s so well-known that just by saying “smiley face”, most people can visualize it in their minds. 

 

The Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation has the motto “Enhancing this world, one smile.” It is true that a smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. 

 

Below are some benefits of smiling. 

 

You’re More Approachable

 

You may have heard that laughter is contagious. Studies show this is indeed true.

 

When we see others smiling, our brain automatically prims us to smile or laugh, providing a way or mirroring the behavior of others, something which helps us interact socially. It could play an important role in building strong bonds between individuals in a group. 

 

This means when you smile or laugh, your positivity will likely be reflected, helping you form relationships and cultivate positivity.

 

Your Body Releases Good Hormones

 

Your body releases three hormones that make you feel good when you smile. They include dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These signal to your body that you’re happy, and in turn, you feel happier. In fact, even if you force a smile, you’ll feel better. While it might not be a natural Duchenne smile, you can in fact make yourself feel better simply by forcing a smile. 

 

You Have Better Relationships

 

Writer William Arthur Ward said, “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” This is indeed true. Laughter and smiling promote camaraderie and help us produce social bonds.

 

In fact, laughter has been connected to emotional well-being in couples. In a study conducted in 2015, psychologists recorded 71 romantic couples explaining how they first met. They found that the amount of the conversation spent simultaneously laughing was positively associated with relationship quality, closeness, and social support.

 

Laughter strengthens bonds and deepens relationships because it communicates that two people are part of something together. 

 

You’re More Productive At Work

 

Jessica Pryce-Jones, the author of “Happiness at Work,” said “Happiness at work is closely correlated with greater performance and productivity as well as greater energy, better reviews, faster promotion, higher income, better health, and increased happiness with life.”

 

Pryce-Jones and her team performed research that showed that the happier a worker felt, the more productive they were. Her research compiled results from 3,000 people in 79 countries. The happiest employees were 180% more energized and 155% happier with their jobs. They spent 80% of their week on work-related tasks, compared to the 40% their least happy coworkers spent.

 

Since many of us spend a good portion of our lives in the workplace, feeling productive and happy is important. Therefore, starting to laugh and smile more at work is beneficial.

 

You Relieve Stress

 

The stress reduction effects of laughter are well documented. Laughter can cool down your stress response by decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure, causing you to feel more relaxed. Laughter also stimulates circulation that helps your muscles relax, which can reduce the physical symptoms of stress over time.

 

As we discussed above, you’ll also get a dose of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin to put you in a better mood moving forward. Smiling and laughter, even during difficult times, can truly help a person deal with stress and come out the other side healthier.

 

There are so many reasons and benefits for us to laugh and smile more. Life is really all about how you approach things. Even if you’re going through hard times, look for the good or the humor. This will positively impact your outlook, your health, and your overall quality of life. 

 

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