Smiling improves your appearance in many ways. When you smile, the muscles of your face give you a mini lift, which can make you look younger. And it can make you look thinner, too. Both of these effects have been confirmed in scientific studies.
Smiling also makes you look more friendly and approachable. When you’re smiling, people think you look less hostile.
So it’s probably not a surprise that when men and women are listing the characteristics they want in a date, a smile comes up number one for both sexes.
Smiling Is Contagious
Smiling is one of the most contagious expressions you can make. (Possibly after yawning–when just reading the word can make you yawn. If we made you yawn just there, we’re sorry.)
Apparently, it has something to do with the way the brain processes emotions. When we see someone else smile, we attempt to understand the expression by emulating it, and once we’ve emulated the smile, we feel the feedback benefits of the expression.
Smiling Can Change Your Mood
Smiling can change your mood because of the complex way our bodies process emotion using feedback loops. In part, we smile because we’re happy. But it’s also that the brain is “reading” our emotions from the muscles in our face, so when our muscles form a smile, the brain gets the message that we’re happy. And it responds by releasing “happy hormones” in the brain.
That’s why smiling can make you happy. Put on the smile and enjoy the mood benefits.
There are lots of ways that a smile can improve your odds of success. A person who is smiling is perceived as more confident and more trustworthy, both characteristics employers are looking for.
And it’s not just that you smile, it’s what your smile looks like. People make many judgments based on the appearance of your smile, and having an unattractive smile can close doors. Having a healthier smile will make you look more intelligent, as well as more trustworthy. So it’s no wonder that people with whiter smiles are 58% more likely to be offered a job over someone with a comparable skill set. It’s not just jobs, either. If you’re an entrepreneur looking for financing, a better smile might improve your odds of a loan.
If you’re in sales, a smile can really help your prospects. Studies have shown that people are willing to pay twice as much for a drink after seeing a smile as they’d pay after seeing a frown. The effect may not be as pronounced if you’re selling real estate, for example, but it’s still there.
And then there’s the matter that smiling can improve your odds of getting promoted. It’s not just that you might be making more sales that boosts your chances. Employers see someone smiling at work, and they see someone who enjoys their job, likes the company, and is a positive influence on coworkers, exactly the sort of person they want to promote.
Overall, when you put this all together, you begin to see the nature of the “beauty premium.” That’s the label scientists give to the phenomenon that leads to better pay for more attractive people. For a more attractive smile, this may result in as much as a 4% premium, about $84,000 over a lifetime for someone with a Bachelor’s degree.
Let Your Smile Show
If you are unhappy with your smile and tend to hide it, it’s time to stop. Get yourself a smile you’ll be proud to show everywhere you go, and see your romantic prospects, your job offers, and your mood increase. Of course, we can’t guarantee any of those things, except that you’ll have a beautiful smile to share.