A recent poll of 2,000 Australians conducted by Invisalign Australia found that Aussies crack a smile 20 times a day on average, with 8 in 10 admitting it helps them get out of a funk.
“Smiling feels good!,” Dr Jaimie Bloch, clinical and behavioural psychologist tells Women’s Health. “When we smile, we actually trick our brain into releasing dopamine and serotonin - feel-good chemicals known as endorphins.”
Dopamine increases our happiness levels, while serotonin is effective at reducing stress.
“Not only can smiling increase your happiness it also can boost your overall mood and your immune system too,” Dr Bloch adds.
With that in mind, here are seven ways to sneak more smiles into your day – no matter how lousy you’re feeling.
Fake it till you make it!
We don’t always feel happy or like smiling but it is important to know you don’t have to start off the day being happy to get the endorphin benefits of smiling. Plus, if you don’t feel like smiling you can fake a smile. Start practising with a half-smile by slightly turning up the corners of your mouth without moving into a full smile, and relaxing your face.
Start the morning with a smile
When you smile, your body releases dopamine which is known to increase our feelings of pleasure and it also releases serotonin. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress which means that by smiling first thing in the morning, you are likely to start your day in a better, more relaxed and happier mood.
Think happy thoughts
Our attitude is heavily influenced by our mood and our mood is influenced by what we think. Essentially, we can choose how we feel. By thinking happier, neutral or more positive thoughts or by remembering pleasant experiences we have had, we are more likely to generate a smile that can positively impact our wellbeing and happiness.
Tell someone a joke and make them laugh
Laughter is extremely powerful. It triggers a chain reaction that can make you happier and is scientifically proven to help keep us healthy. So, this World Smile Day, go out and tell a joke, and have a giggle with others – laughing is always the best medicine.
Smile at everyone you see today
Spreading positivity through smiling is known to be contagious so by smiling at everyone you see, you may cause a domino effect of smiles and help brighten everyone’s day.
Tell someone you love them
Doing simple acts of kindness to strangers or loved ones can make you happy, which can have a positive impact on our own happiness. By telling someone you love them or giving someone a compliment, you’ll bring a smile to someone else, making them feel good and maximising your chance to smile today.
Give to charity
By donating your time, help or money to charity or doing a good deed to help someone, you may feel happier and smile more because you imagine the positive impact your efforts can make.