We all have those days. You know, those days where nothing seems to go right. You hit the snooze button a few more times than you’d expect, and wake up late. Already under the stress of running late for work, your toddler (for us parents out there) decides that, on this particular morning, they will do the exact opposite of everything you ask. Please get dressed? No. Please eat breakfast? I don’t wanna. Then when you’ve finally wrangled your toddler and managed to get out the door and into your car, halfway down the road, you realize you left your cell phone at home.

Yeah…those mornings!

Well, like every human being on the planet, we experience good days and bad days. However, on those bad days, the last thing we are thinking of is flashing our pearly whites at others who cross our paths. But, studies have shown, that smiling, even when forced, can trick our brains into thinking its happy and can boost our mood. And nowadays, who couldn’t use a little more happiness in their lives? I know I can!

The global spiritual leader and author Tich Nhat Hanh said: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” This idea has been supported by spiritual leaders around the globe and supported by science for years. Studies have shown that there are significant social and biological benefits associated with the act of smiling. So, when you find yourself on the “moody train,” here are three reasons to crack that smile and change emotional course. 

  1. A Happy Brain Relieves Pain: Even if you are genuinely in a bad mood, the simple act of smiling releases the “feel-good” neurotransmitters in your brain: dopamine, and endorphins. The release of these “happy” chemicals contribute to relaxation, lowered heart rate, and pain relief.
  1. Smiling Signifies Self Confidence: Studies show that smiling directly affects how others treat and perceive you. When a person is smiling, they immediately come across as approachable, confident, and easy going. Even if you lack these personal feelings within, smiling can help convince you, and those around you, otherwise. 
  1. Smiling Helps You Stay Healthy: Studies have proven that large amounts of stress and manifested negative thought patterns create harmful chemical reactions in the body and that the act of smiling and laughing can boost the immune system. The act of laughing increases the body’s oxygen levels, therefore stimulating the heart and lungs, and causes the brain to release neuropeptides into the system which aid in the alleviation of potential illness

So, the next time you’re feeling down, take time out to binge on funny Youtube videos and screwball comedies, without guilt. It’s literally good for your health!