1. Because smiling will actually help you deal with stressful things better.
Research from the University of Kansas showed that “grin and bear it” can be an OK plan of attack when you are dealing with something annoying. People who smiled when they dunked their hands in ice water had lower heart rates during the recovery period than people who did not smile.
2. Because kids who smile more in their childhood photos have stronger marriages down the line.
According to this study from DePauw University. Obvious disclaimer: This is a correlation, not a causation, which means that the act of smiling itself isn’t going to make you a better partner or have a happier marriage. That being said, the things in your life that may cause you to smile as a kid (strong relationships, stable home environment, good health, a general positive outlook) may also influence your relationship stability and success down the line.
3. Because people who smile more may actually live longer.
Research published in the journal Psychological Science showed that Major League Baseball players who smiled widely in their professional photos actually ended up living longer than the less smiley players. Another correlation v. causation situation here, but interesting nonetheless!
4. Because smiling makes you look trustworthy.
That’s according to research on split-second first impressions. People make a snap judgment about you within 100 milliseconds of seeing your face. And they tend to judge smiling faces as trustworthy, and non-smiling faces as non-trustworthy.
Find out all about how to make a great first impression here.
5. Because smiling makes you look kind.
In a study from Brazil, undergrads rated smiling faces as kinder than unsmiling faces.
6. Because smiling is attractive!
In the same Brazilian study, smiling faces were rated more attractive than unsmiling faces.
7. Because smiling is contagious!
That’s according to a Swedish experiment. And also just common sense — when someone smiles at you, don’t you usually feel compelled to smile back?
8. Because smiling will make you think things are funnier.
Researchers asked study participants to watch cartoons. Some of the participants had to hold a pencil in between their teeth (forcing them to, effectively, smile). Those people rated the cartoons as funnier than the people who weren’t forced to smile.
9. And because when you smile, other people feel good.
Research published in the journal Neuropsychologia found that looking at an attractive smiling face lights up the reward center in our brains.
Thumbnail image credit: Kevork Djansezian / Reuters