Smile! It’s good for your mind, body, and overall wellbeing
Smiling is a universal language. Wherever you are in the world, you may not understand a word that’s being said but when you see a big grin, you know that there is someone friendly to help you along the way.
The International Day of Happiness is on March 20th this year. Although we recommend finding a reason to smile every day, having a whole day dedicated to smiling around the world is an especially good reason! It is a campaign organized by the United Nations to celebrate and encourage human happiness and wellbeing as a part of global progress.
If you're not feeling too smiley initially, one way to help you along the way is the food you eat. Food can really affect your mood, and there are certain foods that make us smile, such as bananas. They include high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, a natural substance that has a calming effect on the brain to boost your mood and can make you happier and more relaxed. Add some dark chocolate—another food with serotonin—and you’ve got a great recipe for smiling!
Here are some reasons to smile, whatever your mood.
1. Smiling can improve your mood
Research shows that smiling releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter that produces positive emotions of happiness and wellbeing. In other words, it’s a natural anti-depressant mood lifter. Just the act of smiling can trigger happiness in the brain and cut back on feelings of sadness and anger to help you view the world through rosier glasses.
2. Smiles reduce stress
When you flash a smile, the other feel-good neurotransmitters, dopamine and endorphins, are also released, relaxing your body, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s a great way to perk you up and instantly banish built-up tension that can negatively affect your mental and physical health. So, next time you find yourself in a stressful situation, take a moment to breathe, smile, and calm yourself down.
3. Strengthen your immune system
Laugh and smile and you may actually be able to fight illness better. A study found that children on a hospital ward who were entertained by storytellers and puppeteers who made them smile had higher white blood cell counts than those who weren’t visited.
4. Positive facial expressions make you more approachable
Smiley people have more friends and greater success in life because they appear more confident and approachable and thus engage more socially. Plus it enhances your physical attractiveness. A famous University of California at Berkeley study looked at a group of high school senior class yearbook photos to see what happened to those with the most genuine smiles. Those with sincere smiles were more likely to experience a greater sense of personal well-being, be married, and stay married over three decades. So, if you are looking for love or a job, start grinning and send out a friendly beacon.
5. Appear more trustworthy
Want people to trust you more? Smile. Studies have found that increased intensity of expression is linked with positive judgements of trustworthiness.
6. Look happy, look younger
Your mother may have told you growing up: “You’ll get more wrinkles with a frown than a smile”, and she was on to something! Smiling is a free anti-aging prescription that takes years off without pills or creams.
7. Smiles are contagious
When you’re feeling good, flash your pearly whites at the next person and see if they can’t help smiling too. Studies show that seeing someone smile activates the area of the brain that controls facial movement and leads to a similar movement. It’s a great way to pay it forward and make someone else feel good about their day, too.
The Just Smile campaign shows the importance of smiling and happiness to the Chiquita brand. Chiquita wants to encourage you to make those around you smile, whether by giving your kids some fun activities online or doing something good to make those around you that bit happier.
So go ahead and smile; it’s good for everyone!