New Eyes Lesson #4. Seven Reasons Why A Smile Makes Eyes Sparkle and You Shine.
“Smile. Your eyes sparkle when you do.”~Coco J. Ginger
I’m completely smitten by babies. Always was, still am. As a new mom, I rocked my newborns for hours, staring at their tiny faces as intently as a sailor watches the sky. I searched longingly for that first tiny smile, like the ones that flicker by as infants sleep. An old woman once told me a baby smiles when an angel speaks to them in their dreams.
When the day came that my baby and I made real eye contact and exchanged genuine smiles, my heart melted. From that moment on, I would make a complete fool of myself doing anything it would take to coax a grin from them and see that little face light up. Any parent knows the joy of those sweet baby smiles. But it goes far deeper than that. Humans are programmed to smile and it’s much more important than mere “face value.”
The Science of Smiling
“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” – Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People sold well over 30 million copies which makes it one of the most popular books ever written. He thought smiling is so important that he devoted one entire chapter to the subject. The depth of Carnegie’s message is far richer than merely having more friends and more clout. It’s a great read about living a more joyful, meaningful life and seeing it all quite differently.
Since that book was written, there’s been exhaustive research on the subject of smiling and I’m particularly intrigued by one study I ran across. Scientists used senior pictures from 1958 and 1960 college yearbooks from Mills College, a private women’s college in Oakland California. Specific scientific measures were used to determine the “best smiles.” Then, the lives of the women in the study were tracked four times over the next 30 years. According to the surveys, it turns out the women who smiled the most lived happier lives, happier marriages and had fewer setbacks.
Why Smile? The answers just might open your eyes!
As you begin to see life with new eyes and find more joy and purpose in your day to day, you’ll smile more! When you do, you’ll not only be happier but you’ll reap benefits and rewards far beyond what you’d first think. Here are seven good ones to start with! There are lots more as you’ll discover when you light up that smile of yours!
A smile is the same in any language. There is no language barrier when it comes to smiling and a genuine smile lights up the eyes as well. A smile always says, “I’m like you” and “I like you.”
Smiling encourages trust. People who smile are more approachable and seem more trustworthy. It makes a person look warm and kind and it’s reassuring in stressful situations.
A Smile Can Inspire and Give Hope. With a smile we can motivate others and show our appreciation. This inspires others and puts them in our corner.
Not Just for Others, Smiling is good for YOU!
Smiling produces endorphins, part of the feel-good chemical cocktail our brain produces when we’re happier. Studies show that when we smile, our brain immediately thinks we’re happier. The resulting endorphins that are dumped in our system lower blood pressure, act as natural pain-killers and boosts our immune system by releasing more white blood cells.
You are more creative when you smile. Scientists in San Francisco at the U of C explored the connection between smiling and creativity. The study showed the neurotransmitter dopamine released when we smile enhances our learning and decision making ability which makes us more creative. Our performance is actually enhanced when we’re happier!
Smiling reduces stress. A 2012 experiment at Kansas University involved 170 students who used chopsticks to hold their mouths in smile-like positions after performing a stressful task. (Weird-right? I think so too.) The results revealed that students who smiled biggest with the chopsticks had a significantly quicker recovery from stress and their heart rate returned to normal much faster than students who maintained a neutral expression.
Smiling makes you better looking. A smile lifts the cheeks, brightens the eyes and can take years off the face. It costs nothing and is a great way to look better instantly. People are naturally attracted to a person who smiles.
Now if all that doesn’t give you something to smile about you just may be a hopeless case! When you see life with new eyes, you have more joy. When you have more joy you smile more! And now you know what happens when you smile more! Keep smiling and I’ll see you again Thursday!