Healthy Swellness: World Smile Day

October 3, 2014

froston Frank

Today is World Smile Day so get grinning, guys!

Even if you’re not feeling it.

And why’s that? Well, when we’re happy we smile, right? And the muscles contracting in our face notify the emotional centre in our brain and tell it “we are feeling happy!” but it can happen the other way around, too, says registered psychologist Nicole McCance. “If you’re not happy, but you smile, the muscles will tell your emotional centre in your brain that you are happy, and you will feel a sense of calmness. There’s a biochemical response, and endorphins and oxytocin — those are the feel-good hormones — will be released, and you’ll feel an improved mental state.”

There are also studies that show that if you’re experiencing pain, if you have a smile on your face, you actually experience lass pain, adds McCance. (Hmm, I think I’ll try this if I’m hurting in the tail end of my next marathon…)

If it’s not physical pain you’re experiencing, but just feeling blue, McCance suggests just trying to muster a half smile in these times of distress. “Just turn up the corners of your mouth, and it can help reduce anxiety,” she says.

Besides the happy-triggering effects of it, a smile is a confidence booster, too. People will gravitate to you, says McCance. “If you’re about to do a presentation or job interview, walk in with a smile, and it’ll show you are confident–even if you may not be, but the world will reflect back to you that you are, and it’ll boost your confidence in the long-term,” she says. How key do we consider a smile to our confidence? In a survey conducted for Philips Sonicare by Angus-Reid, 66 percent of women say an attractive smile is most important to their overall confidence.

So, keep smiling, friends, keep smiling.

(If you need some inspiration to smile, well, this teeny runt of a puppy I encountered this summer in Toronto should do the trick.)


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