Smiles Really Help Out

This is the smile emoji for Apple iOS 10.0

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This is the smile emoji for Apple iOS 10.0

Paige Richey, Photojournalist

With everything going on in the world and with the seemingly never ending amount of work put on people, stress levels are sure to be on the rise. Telling people to take on all of these challenges with a smile might sound corny and cliche, but there’s actual scientific evidence to back it up. The physical act of smiling does a lot more than just brighten up someone’s expression. All of the real benefits a smile brings shows that maybe this corny saying is actually good advice.


When someone smiles a release of positive chemicals in the brain is triggered. “Research has reported that smiling releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, along with serotonin, which is also associated with feel good properties”(academia). Endorphins and serotonin are both great for mental and physical health. The more endorphins in the body, the better a body can fight off illnesses and disease. These chemicals also give someone an increased tolerance for pain. Serotonin helps to keep emotions in check and balanced as it acts as a natural antidepressant. Together these chemicals help keep a person both healthy and happy. The smile that triggers this doesn’t even have to be a genuine one. “Many have found that a forced smile can still make you feel happy, even when your existing mood and surroundings suggest otherwise”(huffingtonpost). This means that even if a person’s smile is fake, it still causes the same Serotonin and Endorphin release that a legitimate smile does.


The benefits of smiling aren’t all reliant on the one person though. Smiling affects how others view people, and even their feelings towards someone.  In a study done by the University of Pittsburgh, researchers tested the connection between how trustworthy a person seemed, and how big their smile was. This study revealed that the larger the smile, the higher ranking of trustworthiness was given. People are more inclined to trust a person if that person is smiling. A human brain subconsciously registers smiles as nonthreatening, which leads to an increase of trust in a person based solely off of their facial expression. It doesn’t end with trust though. “When you smile, people treat you differently. You’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere”(psychologytoday). Basically, smiling around other people is great way to get their perception of someone to be slightly more positive. Jessica Gutierrez (10) states “I didn’t realize that smiling caused these many things to happen. It’s actually really cool.” These social benefits, combined with the mental and physical ones, put a bit more value into smiling.