It Reduces Anxiety, and 5 Other Scientific Benefits to Smiling

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If you’re a woman reading the headline to this post, I bet you automatically went on the defensive. I know this because I am a woman, and I do not and will not smile unless I feel like it, and even science had better not try to tell me otherwise.

That said, we could all use a psychological boost sometimes – now more than ever – so if there’s something in smiling for me, well…maybe I want to know what it is.

So, here are 5 reasons smiling more can do something for you (not for anyone else).

5. They make other people trust you.

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Salesmen, politicians, the waitstaff…they’re always smiling, right? There’s a reason for that, and it’s that people who smile a lot are more likely to gain our trust (and get what they want from us) than someone with a sour expression.

A smile projects confidence, and people generally respond positively to that, as well – brain scans show we view smiles as little gifts, and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that you can always leverage a present.

4. They’re good for your relationships.

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People who smile often are considered likable and approachable.

According to a 30-year study out of Berkeley, people who smiled with genuinely positive emotion in their senior yearbook photos were more likely to be in healthy marriages at the age of 52.

Why 52? Who knows. But it sounds like a nice way to live your life.

3. They make you happier.

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Smiling – even if it’s forced – releases endorphins, the same feel-good chemicals associated with exercise.

The chemical release helps relieve stress and reduce the perception of pain, too.

2. You could live longer.

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Research from Wayne State University shows that baseball players who genuinely grinned on their baseball cards in 1952 were likely to live longer than average – 5-to-7 years longer than their non-smiling counterparts.

We also look younger when we smile, wrinkles and all.

1. It reduces anxiety.

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The act of smiling actually relaxes us – it tells our brains that there’s no threat around, which slows down our heart rate, stops the production of stress hormones like cortisol, and may even temporarily reduce blood pressure.

One study from the University of Kansas even suggests smiling can reduce stress and slow your heart rate, too.

See, now I’m considering it! Science is just so s^xy!

Ladies, what’s your go-to response when a dude tells you to smile? I need more comebacks in my arsenal!