“Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain.” The notorious party animals dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin start whooping it up when you smile. And a bonus: those endorphins serve as natural pain relievers and act as the body’s own opiates.
“When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” Yes, the old song is right; smiles are contagious! But that’s just one of the superpowers of a smile.
You look confident when smiling and to others this can mean more intelligent, younger.
As Buddhist author Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Even research subjects directed to place a pencil between their teeth, forcing their lips into a smile, actually feel better. Odd, but true.
Looking at the bigger picture, each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favor. You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel-good chemicals in your brain, activate reward centers, make you both more attractive, and increase the chances of you both living longer, healthier lives.
It also explains the 2011 findings by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Subjects were asked to rate smiling and attractiveness. They found that both men and women were more attracted to images of people who made eye contact and smiled than those who did not. If you don’t believe me, see how many looks you get when you walk outside with that smile you’re wearing right now.