I believe a smile is the most effortless gift you can give to someone. Imagine walking down the sidewalk and getting an unexpected smile from a stranger. How does it make you feel? Even in that brief moment of pleasure, it brings me fully into the present and takes me out of my head.
Interestingly, smiles show much more than pleasure. According to research, a smile can indicate trustworthiness, attractiveness and likeability, just to name a few. There are many scientifically proven ways that smiles are beneficial.
Allows others to forgive more easily
Have you ever noticed that when you catch people doing something wrong, their natural reaction is to smile? Turns out this behavior is rooted in psychology.
Researchers LaFrance and Hecht found that we are more lenient with people who smile after they have broken the rules. Why? Because we find those who smile more trustworthy compared to those who don’t.
Helps us to move past mistakes or embarrassment
Whether you forgot your spouse’s birthday or missed a deadline at work, the study shows that something as simple as an embarrassed smile makes others think less of the slip up. A smile acknowledges you made a mistake, which communicates that you are humble and relatable.
Makes us feel better
When we’re upset or stressed about something, a smile (even a forced one) signals our brain to release those feel-good chemicals. Also known as the facial feedback hypothesis, a forced smile can trick the mind and improve our mood.
It’s no secret that we are drawn to people who smile, which explains why smiling is a major factor in attraction. A smile indicates happiness and positivity, which are two things we all want to be around.
Makes you appear successful
Researchers tracked the lives of women who had the best smiles in their yearbook photos and found those who smiled more often were more successful overall. They “lived happier lives with happier marriages and fewer setbacks.”
How did your—or someone else’s—smile lead to a positive experience?