The Science Behind The Smile
The simple act of smiling is incredibly powerful, and the facial feedback hypothesis proves it. This idea was first introduced by Charles Darwin, the renowned biologist who is most well-known for his theories on natural selection and evolution. However, it has been developed over the centuries by many other scientists.
The facial feedback hypothesis states that emotions can be altered by the activity of facial muscles. In a 2018 study where participants were asked to smile or frown when exposed to positive and negative emotional pictures, scientists found that participants experienced the stimuli as more pleasant when they smiled as compared to when they frowned.
Here’s the science behind the facial feedback hypothesis: When something makes us happy, endorphins (or happy hormones) are produced in our brains and neuronal signals are transmitted to our facial muscles to trigger a smile. Our muscles contracting to smile fires a signal back to our brains to release more endorphins. In short – it’s a loop! When we feel happy, we smile, and when we smile, we feel even happier! Even smiling at yourself in the mirror can induce this effect.
Aside from being able to boost mood, smiling also has a host of health benefits. It reduces blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and strengthens your immune system!
12 Awesome Ways To Make Someone Smile
Because of all the benefits that come with smiling, not only should we work on smiling more, we should also work on making others happy too! With that, here are 12 awesome ways to spread positivity and make someone smile!
1.) Smile At Them First
Don’t be afraid to make the first move! Make someone’s day by smiling at them and saying hello, even if they’re a stranger. Remember, smiling is contagious!
2.) Treat Them to Lunch
Nothing can make a person smile wider than free food! Treat a friend to lunch and you’ll both be smiling throughout the meal. This is also the perfect opportunity to reminisce on any heartwarming, funny, or silly memories you share with that person.
3.) Listen to A Good Song
Upbeat tunes will make you sing, dance, and smile! Check out this list of songs you can add to your playlist that are sure to make others happy.
4.) Give Them A Compliment
When thinking of ways to make someone smile, you can’t go wrong with telling them something you like or appreciate about them. You never know when someone needs an ego boost! However, to truly make someone happy, make sure that your compliment is genuine.
5.) Crack A Joke
Have you heard of the Rule of Threes? Also referred to as trebling, the Rule of Threes is when you make jokes about a trio of entities (ex. events or characters). It has proven to be a humorous, satisfying, and effective way of making someone happy through comedy!
6.) Surprise Them with A Small Gift
There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a gift to make someone happy. A little token of appreciation is more than enough to get your friends or family smiling! There are also ways to give gifts to strangers. For example, leave some change at a vending machine to treat the next person who uses it to their desired snack.
7.) Write Them A Thoughtful Message
If distance is a factor you need to consider, no worries! Make someone happy through text by writing them a thoughtful message. It can be short and sweet. For example, sending an “I love you” text is sure to make your significant other smile.
8.) Watch A Funny Video
This is one way you can make an entire group chat smile! Send a link to a funny video to get people laughing. I recommend the popular “Try Not to Smile Challenge” videos on YouTube!
9.) Offer A Lending Hand
Make someone’s day easier by offering to help them with their errands or tasks. Even just the act of offering can make someone happy and lighten the burden on their shoulders.
10.) Share Words of Encouragement
Hearing words like “I’m proud of you,” or “You can do it,” can give someone the strength to happily go about their day. During a low moment, remembering the words of encouragement you shared with them can turn a frown upside down!
11.) Listen to Them
Sometimes, all someone needs is to be listened to. Whether they want to talk about issues they’re facing in their lives or more mundane topics like what their schedule for the day is, be the listening ear that makes people happy.
12.) Give Them A Big Hug
Getting and giving hugs activates the same endorphin loop in your brain as smiling. Family therapist Virgina Satir once said that we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth.
The Filipino Smile
Filipinos are known for being able to smile even in difficult situations. In fact, the Filipino smile is not only considered a facial expression but also a representation of the humanity that emerges from the heart of each Filipino.
The Filipino smile is internationally renowned. In 2013, the Calida Humana project was launched by a Chilean ambassador to pay homage to the Filipino people. Through a photo contest, they gathered photos of Filipino smiles and acts of calidad humana, or human compassion. Check out the results of the photo contest below:
What are you waiting for? Do your part in spreading the Filipino smile today by making others happy!