Smile: It's Good For You

The other day I was riding the bus home after a long day of classes, and I was just in a horrible mood. The type of bad mood where you put your backpack on the seat next to you just so that no one will sit there. And you look up at everyone who gets near you on that crowded bus and you kinda give them this look that says “don’t you dare ask me to move that bag, because it’s not happening,” and they are genuinely frightened and shuffle away from you.

Yea I’m that jerk, sorry.

But point is, I learned something on this really shitty seven minute bus ride: smiling improves your mood. Even if you don’t want to smile, if you do it, you will probably feel so much better. I was lucky to have an incentive that made me smile at that moment, which prompted me to breathe a little and calm myself down.

What busted my smile out from my bad mood was this song that came on through my headphones. It was the song that just played over and over again on Spring Break and it reminded me of the beach and all the things I don’t remember from that trip to the Bahamas.

Then I was like wow, what just happened I think I need to Google this amazing phenomenon – so I did.

Grin and bear it people! It’s not just an expression.

There is some big scientific study behind smiling and the quality of your mood, so I’ll just give the basic run down here:

When you smile, the activation of those muscles in your face releases loads of mood enhancing chemicals into your blood stream. All those things like endorphins, serotonin and dopamine get to work, and boom – bad mood gone.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you get the point. I also discovered something really cool about smiling through my Google fit: smiling will push you through your workout! This bit comes back to the smile releasing tension in your muscles throughout your body. Kinda like loosening your body up a bit, allowing for a more productive and less tiring workout.

Another great thing about turning that frown upside down is that if you do, you might just help out some other random person who is also in a terrible mood! Think about it – you see someone smiling or laughing, and what do you do? You usually feel some kind of weird happiness because of their happiness, and maybe you even smile a bit yourself.

So next time you’re just having one of those days where everything seems to being going wrong, or you simply just woke up on the wrong side of the bed, try and smile for yourself. Maybe look in the mirror and let your pearly whites shine back at you. You can even throw a power pose in there, and your day is guaranteed to be just a little better than it would have been without the smile.

Sitting in a boring lecture? Smile. Slaving over your homework? You know what to do. Your roommate is taking all your shit without asking? Definitely have a chat with that thief, but also remember to smile to keep your cool.

I’m not super religious, but I do know that Mother Teresa really liked smiling. She believed a smile was like the key to love and happiness and all that good stuff. She once said, “we shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

Well now you know.

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