How Smiling Benefits Everyone

benefits of smiling

When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you — so say the lyrics of a classic earworm song. What sounds like a sweet sentiment is actually borne out by science. For years, researchers have held that smiles beget smiles — that is, when someone smiles at another person, the other person is very likely to smile back. They’ve also found that the very act of smiling seems to make the smiler feel better. The many benefits of smiling point to a clear conclusion as we head into another season of mask mandates — clear masks like the Smile Mask aren’t just more attractive. They’re actually better for you and the world around you. 

Smiling Makes You Feel Better

The simple physical act of smiling releases endorphins — your brain’s happy chemicals. Researchers at the University of South Australia recently found that the muscular actions required to smile trigger the amygdala — the part of your brain that helps regulate emotions — into releasing hormones that lift your mood, even when the smile is faked. 

You See the World as a Happier Place when You Smile

In the same study, researchers found that people interpreted other people’s movements and facial expressions as more positive when they were smiling. In other words, you’re more likely to view others in a more positive light when you’re smiling.

Smiling Makes Others Feel Better

It’s almost a boomerang effect. When you smile, other people smile back. It’s been documented by numerous studies over the years, and is one of the basic tenets of facial expression research. So when you smile at someone, you trigger a smile in them, which triggers their amygdala to release happy chemicals. Thus, smiling benefits everyone around you.

You’re More Approachable When You Smile

When you smile, others see you as more likable and approachable. That helps facilitate better communication and better relationships. While this is important just about anywhere, it’s especially important for people in professions who deal with the public face-to-face, from health care workers to teachers to retail workers. 

Smiling Relieves Stress

A smile can help relieve anxiety by releasing dopamine, the body’s natural stress reliever. In a study conducted at the University of Kansas, researchers found that people who smiled while doing a stressful activity recovered from the stress faster than those who didn’t. Smiling at others — and seeing them smile back — can help make stressful situations less stressful for everyone involved.

Your Smile Makes You More Trustworthy

In multiple studies, test subjects rated people who were smiling in photos as being more reliable, competent and trustworthy.  

Smiling Increases Productivity

Researchers at the Warwick Business School discovered that happy people are more productive. In their experiment, people who had watched a film that subjectively increased their “happiness level” performed significantly better on a task than those who had seen a placebo film. Seeing a smile increases happiness, which in turn leads to more creativity and productivity in the workplace. 

Smiling Boosts Your Immune System

Smiling triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps activate critical parts of the immune system. It’s one possible reason that happy people live longer.

Smiling Reduces Pain

People who smiled while receiving an injection reported significantly less pain than people who did not, according to one recent study. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine School of Ecology had patients either smile, grimace or maintain a neutral expression while receiving an injection. Those who either smiled or grimaced — two fairly similar facial expressions — not only reported feeling 40% less pain, but also showed less stress response than those who maintained a neutral expression. Health care workers administering vaccinations (and other procedures) may actually be able to reduce the pain and stress felt by their patients simply by smiling at them.

Smile Masks Maximize the Benefits of Smiling

Your smile can help set people at ease, reassure them of your competence, make you seem more approachable and sympathetic, and help relieve their stress and anxiety — but only if they can see it. The SmileMask Original Cotton Mask includes a transparent window made of non-fogging film that shows your smile. It’s an invaluable, ADA-compliant alternative to traditional cotton masks for anyone who has to — or wants to — wear a mask for their health or professional reasons. 

Interested in buying SmileMasks for yourself or your team? Reach out to our team with your questions and orders to be ready for the upcoming season.

Deb Powers is a Massachusetts freelance writer who has been writing about health topics, wellness, and related topics for more than 20 years.


University of Western Australia Impact - The Science of Smiling

Science Daily - When You're Smiling, the Whole World Really Does Smile with You

Journal of Nonverbal Behavior - The Voluntary Facial Action Technique: A Method to Test the Facial Feedback Hypothesis

Experimental Psychology - Your Face and Moves Seem Happier When I Smile

Solara Mental Health - Say Cheese! The Effect of Smiling at Others

Association for Psychological Science - Grin and Bear It! Smiling Facilitates Stress Recovery

Columbus Monthly - Health: Smiling Can Relieve Anxiety and Make You Look Younger

Neural Regeneration Research - Dopamine: An Immune Transmitter

Harvard Health - If You're Happy and You Know It… You May Live Longer