A beautiful smile can do a lot of things. We all first smiled as early as when we were born. According to experts, smiling may have been a primal instinct in animals, specifically, a response to fear. It has been dated back to 30 million years ago, when apes showed their teeth to show enemies that they were not dangerous. Most human babies smile for the first time in their sleep, and learn to smile and laugh in as early as four to six weeks.
The smile, however seemingly simple, holds complexities as that of any other sub topic in science and psychology. At its simplest, it reveals actual feelings (e.g. a Duchenne smile, or a genuine smile of happiness as opposed to a fake one), it can forge friendships, and lightens the mood – both your own and of those around you regardless of whether or not they are strangers. Smiling has so many psychological and emotional benefits that we tend to miss out on. We even think it’s a built-in quick fix.
That being said, here’s a short list of fun facts about our smiles and what they can do.
- Facial expressions, including smiles, can reveal if a person is lying.
- In many cases, wearing a genuine smile is better than wearing makeup. According to Orbit Complete, their study reveals that 69% of the people prefer looking at others who smile than those wearing makeup.
- A lustful character was among the many beliefs surrounding a gap-toothed smile. Another was that if one had teeth gap, this was a sign of good omen.
- A smile is contagious, and it’s perhaps one of the few things we’d like to contract from others.
- Women smile more than men do.
- Even a forced smile brightens your mood, which makes your body instantly release endorphins and serotonin. The former blocks your perception of pain, while the latter elevates your mood. The amounts released are similar to that of consuming chocolate.
- A happy smile is universally understood by all humans.
- The study of laughter and smiling, and their effects on the human body is called “gelotology.”
- Children smile way more than adults do. While 30% of adults smile at least 20 times a day, kids do it at a whopping 400 times a day.
- Smiling (even a forced one) gives you confidence and control. This works in, say, an interview or when speaking to a group of people. Or maybe meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time. After smiling, refer to no. 4 of this list and watch it happen.
Looking at the facts, the old adage does hold true: Smile, and the whole world smiles with you.