Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Reasons to smile:

The many benefits of a great smile
By Beverly Goldsmith
Date: October 12 2013
Editor Rating:

How often do you smile – really smile? If your answer is a lot, then you’re well on your way to achieving a long and happy life. Smiling is good for your health, say experts. With this incentive in mind, it could be time to exercise those facial muscles, and smile more.

According to Professor Barbara Fredrickson of North Carolina University, there’s growing evidence that smiles have a health-boosting effect. They reflect positive emotions which include joy, contentment and gratitude.  Studies show genuine smiles are linked to higher personal wellbeing, and even living longer. So to increase wellness, Fredrickson says we need “three positive emotions to lift us up for every one negative emotion that wears us down. So we need three or more smiles to each grimace.”

Although increasing your smiles sounds like a beneficial and health-producing thing to do, it’s not always easy to achieve. Some people believe they’re not the smiley kind. Others think they have not much to smile about. Are such individuals doomed to experience poor health as a result of being smile-less?  No way!  It’s possible to attain a sunny disposition with less effort than working-out at the gym.

Smiling is thought-based

Gaining a cheerful facial expression becomes easy when you realise that a smiling face is just an outward expression of what a person is thinking. People smile readily, when they’re thinking happy thoughts. An unsmiling face, is often the product of unhappy thoughts. Understanding the thought-based nature of a smile, can lead to a person having more of them.


  • Nurture only thoughts that will light up your face.
  • Dwell on constructive, optimistic, affirmative thinking.
  • Resist constantly chewing over negative thoughts.
  • If you’re in an unhappy situation, or having gloomy thoughts and feelings, take action and smile.
  • Think about something good, then beam.
  • Cultivate positive emotions that lead to a broad grin.

 Don’t wait to smile

It can be tempting to not smile unless others do so first. The problem with taking this waiting approach, is that it could be a long time before you feel that burst of gladness that follows a smile.


  • Don’t wait for someone, or something , to make you feel happy and to prompt a smile.
  • Take the initiative. Be the one to smile first at others.
  • Be proactive.  At the check-out, bank or post office, smile at the person you’re speaking with.
  • “Make your day” with a beaming smile. It can make another person’s day too.

 “Put a smile on your dial”

wise man once said, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s heart-lifting and smile-inducing. The qualities of contentment, satisfaction and balanced thinking, are not located “out there” somewhere. They’re present within each person’s consciousness. Happiness doesn’t depend on external factors for its existence. We have it already – 24/7.


  • Kindle the enduring spark of happiness that’s within you, and fan it into a warm facial glow.
  • Take a moment to smile, especially when an unhappy thought comes along.

If you need help to increase your quota of smiles, consider employing “extra help” in the form of tried-and-true meditation or prayer practices. These methods have been found to be smile-producing, and consequently, that makes them good for your health.

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susan johnson says: 2013 10 29

Thank you Beverly for this important reminder.  Over the years I seem to have developed an ‘approachable’ appearance which I put down to the fact that although I am a grandmother now I have always found so much to smile about over the years. Someone wrote that ‘after fifty you have the face you deserve’ which may or may not be true, but certainly if people are severe and grim, that generally shows, and people may be less likely to approach them. Since communication with others, even in small ways such as smiling and holding open a shop door, makes everyday life so much more pleasant it is well worthwhile remembering to smile.
Even if I am feeling miserable I find I always smile involuntarily at children or people walking dogs or generally in interaction with others and it always makes me feel better. And probably the others too!

Beverly Goldsmith says: 2013 10 30

Thank you Susan for your comment. I’m so glad that you are an “active smiler”. Well done. Sometimes, it takes an effort to smile - especially when one is feeling a bit down. Yet just the act of forming a grin lifts one spirits. How good then to know that such a small facial expression can be good for one’s health. Here’s to more smiles all round.

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