The Science of Smiling and How To Be Happier!
The stress of owning and running a business can be taxing on your emotional well being. Sure you’re happy to be an entrepreneur, but I guess your happiness meter is not displaying the number you thought it would.
There’s a direct correlation between smiling and happiness.
It’s straight up science bitch.
The origin of smile science goes back to a familiar name, when it comes to origins. Charles Darwin.
Darwin, noted that while most body language behaviors differ between cultures, and are presumably learned, but the cause, consequences and results of smiling are global.
For example we know that blind infants smile just like their sighted counterparts.
Babies quickly learn that while crying gets the attention of adults, smiling keeps it.
Fact: On average, babies smile 400 times a day. While happy adults smile 40-50 times a day.
The average (not as happy) adult only smiles 20 times.
Entrepreneurs are probably smile less than that!
What’s so great about smiling?
A smile triggers your brain’s reward system, even more than chocolate can. Some research that suggests you’ll get more pleasure from smiling than from eating 2,000 bars of chocolate. I don’t think they know how much much I love chocolate!
Basically, when you smile you tell your brain it feels good, and when your brain feels good it tells you to smile even more. It’s a glorious cycle of pleasure!
Smiling brings numerous health benefits, such as reducing your anxiety, lowering blood pressure, and lowering your heart rate. Research has suggested smiling reduces your bodily and mental stress like a good night’s sleep does.
A study from Penn State University found that people who smile appear to be more likeable, courteous. and even competent. How useful could that be in business?
Is smiling contagious?
According to a paper published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. We mimic the smiles or other facial features of others because it helps us better understand what other people are feeling, allowing us to respond appropriately. Crazy right!!
So yes, a smile is contagious.
The link between smiling and happiness.
Smiles are directly linked to happiness, why aren’t we as happy as we could be?
For most of us, especially if you’re goal oriented, happiness is usually defined by this one simple statement.
If I work hard I’ll be successful, and if I’m successful I’ll be happy.
The problem with that is every time you achieve success, you immediately change the definition of success, thus avoiding happiness.
See if any of these success rewrites happened to you.
- I just want to start my own business to make a little money on the side. That quickly became I want to replace my current income.
- I just want to replace my current income. Became, I want to make 6 figures.
- I just want a new car. Became, I want a Mercedes!
If happiness is going to exist on the other side of achieving your goals, your brain will never get there, because the definition of success always gets rewritten.
It will always be a carrot dangling in front of you.
How can we be Happier?
Happiness is about finding reasons in your life now that make you smile! (trust me they’re around here somewhere)
Shawn Achor author of the The Happiness Advantage explains how this can be achieved:
- List 3 new gratitudes daily. This teaches you brain to scan for the positive first not the negatives.
- Journal about one positive experience per day. This allows you to relive it.
- Exercise This teaches your brain that your behavior matters
- Meditate This helps your brain get over the ADHD that comes with trying to multitask nonstop. and teaches your brain to focus on the task at hand
- Random acts of kindness. Plan to do something nice for someone, praise or thank someone in your social network.
“When you smile, your brain is aware of the activity and actually keeps track of it. The more you smile, the more effective you are at breaking the brain’s natural tendency to think negatively. If you smile often enough, you end up rewiring your brain to make positive patterns more often than it does negative ones.
Happiness is a work ethic… It’s something that requires our brains to train just like an athlete has to train.“
How this affects business.
Achor implemented his plan to 100’s of employers and employees to monitor the effects.
Here’s just a little of what Achor found, when he studied people while working in a happy state.
- They were 31% more productive
- They were 37% better at sales
- Doctors are 19% were more accurate at diagnosing patients
Dopamine is released when you are smiling, it not only makes you happier, but according to Achor it also turns on all the learning centers of your brain.
So just like anything in life if you want to be good at it, you have to put in the time and effort. This will clearly show benefits in productivity and all relationships.
The juice is worth the squeeze.