Congratulations, you’ve just become better looking. Really.
Keep that smile fixed in place and people will treat you differently. They’ll see you as more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere.
Experts at the Face Research Laboratory at Aberdeen University found both men and women are more attracted to images of people making eye contact and smiling.
That doesn’t sound like rocket science but it’s all thought to be because smiling at someone activates the part of their brain that processes sensory rewards. So your radiant grin is actually leaving others with a feeling of being rewarded!
And there are rewards for you too. Every time you smile you’re triggering the release of neuropeptides that work towards fighting stress.
A grin also releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These help you relax, while reducing your heart rate and blood pressure.
As if that wasn’t enough, they can also cut pain – and serotonin can act as a mood-lifter. In fact, many anti-depressant medications work by artificially lifting serotonin levels, so it’s worth flashing a smile for the happiness boost alone.
Speaking of serotonin, you can double the joy by teaming the smile with a hug. The close contact of a cuddle gets the feel-good chemical flowing, because affection makes us feel significant and important. The relaxing effect helps the body fight physical and social stress – which basically means it can give your immune system a great big boost.
The act of touch can be so powerful that its effects are felt even when it’s just a teddy bear we’re hugging. (And if that sounds far-fetched, it’s worth pointing out that a 2012 poll found a third of British adults still sleep with a teddy).
Sounds like psychologist Virginia Satir hit the nail on the head when she said we need four hugs a day for survival, eight for maintenance and 12 for growth.
So embrace it!