1. Your smile is controlled by two groups of muscles - the zygomatic major muscles and the orbicularis oculi muscles. The first extend from the sides of the face (cheekbones) to the corners of your mouth. While smiling they expose the teeth and raise the corners of the mouth. The orbicularis oculi muscles are responsible for closing the eyelids as well as the appearance of wrinkles in the corners of the eyes. We can control the movement of the zygomatic major muscles. We do it when we want to artificially smile. We cannot voluntarily contract the orbicularis oculi muscle so they onlyappear when we laugh honestly. So if you want to know whether someone’s laugh is genuine or fake look at the muscles surrounding the eyes. Only the lips are laughing in the laughter that misses the true joy.
2. Smiling is contagious. Researchers have found the "mirror neurons" in the brain that are responsible for the recognition of facial emotions of another person. After such recognition, they start identifying areas in the brain responsible for the same emotion (try to look at one of the pictures below for several seconds). When we see a smile on the face of another person, we can also easily smile – we automatically feel happiness. Moreover, smiling affects the behavior of others and their reactions to us. Researches show that when we laugh people more often see us as more friendly, nice and happy.
3. Laughter is the best medicine. Smiling positively affects breathing. While laughing we breathe faster and this is a good exercise for the diaphragm, throat, as well as it increases blood oxygenation and its flow. According to the neurologist Henri Rubenstein, a minute of laughter provides 45 minutes of subsequent relaxation.
4. The hormone of happiness. Laughter stimulatesyour brain to produce hormones called endorphins. These are chemical substances of similar composition as morphine and heroin. They have a calming effect and enhance the immune system. The release of endorphins improves our mood.
5. The very fact of smiling, even the fake one, stimulates the release of endorphins into the brain. Activating the muscles responsible for smiling is so strongly linked to the well-being that it works both ways. So if you want to feel better, smile a few times, even if you don’t feel like it. Check it out for yourself now :-)
6. Sociable smile. Research shows that we laugh more often when we’re around other people than when we’re alone. Robert Provine claims that only 15% of our laughter has to do with jokes! There must be something in it! It’s happened to me several times that when I read a funny joke being alone at home I only slightly smiled but when I told or heard the same joke around other people, I almost split my sides with laughter:-) It turns out that laughter has an important social function – it’s a way of making social bonds.
Conclusions? These are probably obvious :-) Smile more often! You’ll create in your brain wonderful “chemical cocktails”, and your friends will see you as a more sociable and friendly person. What's more, you’ll also improve their mood. As for you, you'll definitely feel much better since not only you’ll be happy, but also your body will be healthier. So, wherever you are, dispense smiles to everybody around you!