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5 Science-Backed Reasons to Smile More

5 Science-Backed Reasons to Smile More

Okay, so no one likes to be told to smile when they’re not in the mood to smile. But what if science is telling you to smile? It turns out there are a lot of amazing benefits when you just grin and bear it. Say cheese!


Image credit: stevendepolo via Flickr

1. Smiling de-stresses you.

Rough day at work? Smile! It activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress and help you relax. In one experiment, research participants underwent a series of stress-inducing activities while they held chopsticks in their mouths that formed a neutral expression, a forced smile, or a genuine smile. Though the genuine smilers ended up being most relaxed during the stressful activity, those with forced smiles weren’t far behind, recovering from the task with lower heart rates than those with neutral expressions.


2. Smiling helps you live longer.

Would you smile more if we said your life depended on it? Okay, probably not, but get this—researchers say that it’s possible that genuinely smiling more could add as much as seven years to your lifespan.

Image credit: kakissel via Flickr

3. Smiling is good for your social life.

If you’re happy and you know it, don’t hold back! Research has found that smilers are rated higher in generosity and extroversion than non-smilers. A smile also increases another’s willingness to trust by 10 percent.


4. Smiling makes you more approachable.

Caveat: only if you’re a woman. Research has found that when a woman at a bar makes eye contact with a man, she’s approached 20% of the time. When she adds a smile, she’s approached 60% of the time. Smiling men, on the other hand, don’t have the same appeal—less smiling actually makes a man look more masculine.

Image credit: yogendra174 via Flickr

5. Smiling is contagious.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you…well, actually just half the world, according to scientists. Research has found that smiling triggers other people to respond with a smile of their own, but just over 50 percent of people. On the plus side, it appears misery doesn’t always love company—few people frown back at a frowning person.


Main image credit: manduhsaurus via Flickr


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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.


+ add your own
4:42AM PDT on Sep 11, 2014


12:28AM PDT on Sep 6, 2014

Good article, thanks for sharing :)

9:42AM PDT on Sep 4, 2014

Like many others have said, when I smile at people they generally smile back, whether the smile was directed at them or in response to someone else. Sometimes contagious things are good for you. Thanks.

8:12PM PDT on Aug 28, 2014

Thank you :)

12:31PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014


1:46AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Thank you :)

2:09PM PDT on Aug 25, 2014


12:58AM PDT on Aug 25, 2014

I found when we were living in America that people often smile back at you and it was so nice. I loved it! When we moved back to the UK I found that to be far less common. People here will often just give you a blank look when you smile at them. African women and people from the Indian subcontinent also smile easily. Receiving a genuine smile from a total stranger is one of the highlights of a day. :))

1:06PM PDT on Aug 24, 2014

Have you ever smiled so much,
your face hurt! (*Raise hand*)

Have also noticed that most any
time I smile at someone, they
most immediately smile back.

11:48AM PDT on Aug 24, 2014

I breath in and I relax, I breath out and I smile. That's a quick relaxation technique, and it works!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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