Today is National Smile Power Day; yes, there really is a day dedicated to the power of smiling; that’s how “powerful” it is. Smiling can improve your mood, has health benefits, and is a universal sign of happiness, acceptance, and appreciation.
Our brains are powerful; when we smile, it produces tiny molecules called neuropeptides. This chemical helps reduce stress and produces other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. When these chemicals flood our brain, they can act as mild pain relievers or antidepressants and help reduce stress and lower our blood pressure. Even forcing a smile can still boost your mood and happiness level. With that being said, smiling can only do so much and is no solution for depression or other mental health issues. These medical conditions require assistance from a doctor.
A recent study found that children laugh and smile about 400 times in 24 hours, while the average adult smiles or laughs about 20 times a day, and those who consider themselves happy smile 40-50 times a day. This is a drastic reduction in smiles for adults and the benefits they receive. Here are some things to help us smile more:
- Enjoying some time outdoors
- Seeing an old friend
- Practicing smiling
- Looking at pictures
- Exchanging compliments with others
- Eating comfort food
- Doing a good deed for someone
- Hugging a loved-one
- Watching funny animal videos
- Customize the list to go on and on just for you
Here’s to looking on the bright side of things and intentionally finding what makes you smile. 😊
Colleen Eusterwiemann, Suicide Pre & Postvention Coordinator for The Kim Foundation
Colleen earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Northwest Missouri State University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Colleen has previous experience working for local non-profits focusing on consulting, coordinating, planning, and providing direct care. Colleen joined The Kim Foundation in January of 2022.