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8 Benefits of Smiling on Your Health, Wellbeing and Relationships

images-851Ever notice that a smiling person can brighten up a room, change the overall mood of a group of people, or even lower tension and avert escalation of conflict?

A simple smile, given the right circumstances, can instantly change your mood, and others’, and this means it has the power to shift the physiological and emotional resonance of our minds and bodies from overall anxious to positive states.

By nature, we are drawn to smiles and repelled by scowls.

In fact, we naturally want to get to know more about a person who often smiles, and emotional detach from a person who regularly grimaces. Smiles are contagious to us, like tickling or yawning, even in the worst of circumstances, we may instantly smile back at a smiling person, perhaps ‘against our will’ so to speak, when it wasn’t our plan.

It’s easy to explain. Biologically, the former releases hormones that produce pleasant sensations inside, whereas the latter releases feel-bad hormones such as cortisol. When we smile, our entire body and presence sends out “Life is fabulous!” messages to others. And who wouldn’t love being inspired to hope and believe in the possibility of a fabulously happy life?

It’s no wonder studies show that smiling people exude more confidence, are more likely to gain others’ trust and cooperation, be promoted at work, as well as make higher incomes.

Smiling also has numerous benefits to our physical, mental and emotional health, and thus our relationships.

A simple smile …

  1. Is a natural ‘drug’ with healing effects on the body in that it releases healing hormones, such as feel-good serotonin and pain-lowering endorphins.
  2. Not only makes us feel better, it also makes us appear younger. The muscles used to smile are ones that lift the face, thus smiling throughout the day provides a natural face-lift – and it’s free.
  3. Can instantly relieve stress, and alter one’s physical posture or facial appearance or countenance from one that appears worn, stressed and tired to one that is relaxed and hopeful.
  4. Is proven to reduce mental overwhelm, and measurably lowers blood pressure (if you do not believe it, smile for a few minutes, and take a second reading on a home monitor).
  5. Can increase clarity of mind, thus, help us make better decisions, optimal choices and goal-achieving actions.
  6. Strengthens and boosts the functioning of our immune system, due to its power to restore balance and relax the autonomous nervous system; thus, the practice of frequent smiling offers protection from disease and serious illness, and may prevent colds and flu.
  7. Is a great way to change your overall outlook on life to a positive one, and this provides proven protection from depression, anxiety, stress and other worry-focused conditions. Try being negative when you smile, and you’ll see what a powerful key ingredient it is in cultivating optimism.
  8. Grows and maintains healthy relationships with others when an it’s a lifestyle practice. An essential aspect of friendship is having fun, and that involves sending signals with our smiles that we are enjoying ourselves and one another.

The evidence is clear. Smiles improve the quality of our lives and health and relationships. So, if it’s not a regular practice, why not start today to smile consciously: to improve the health of your body, to reduce your stress level, to live longer, to have more fun, to raise your level of happiness, and attractiveness to others, and even live longer?

By the way, are you per chance telling yourself that you don’t have anything to smile about? No problem. You can train your mind and body with the same mindsets sports psychologists support top athletes to achieve: Fake it until you make it! Studies show the positive effects and outcomes of rehearsing the future you most aspire to create in your mind.

8 Benefits of Smiling on Your Health, Wellbeing and Relationships

Athena Staik, Ph.D.

Relationship consultant, author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Dr. Athena Staik motivates clients to break free of anxiety, emotion reactivity, and other addictive patterns, to awaken wholehearted relating to self and other. She is currently in private practice in Northern VA, and writing her book, What a Narcissist Means When He Says 'I Love You'": Breaking Free of Addictive Love in Couple Relationships. To contact Dr. Staik for information, an appointment or workshop, visit, or visit on her two Facebook fan pages DrAthenaStaik and DrStaik

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APA Reference
Staik, A. (2013). 8 Benefits of Smiling on Your Health, Wellbeing and Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 2 Aug 2013
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