According to research, a natural smile can boost your health by helping to relieve stress and pain – and can even make you seem more attractive and live longer.
What are the health benefits of smiling?
Science shows that smiling causes a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing 'happy' hormones such as serotonin and dopamine.
Habitually smiling can therefore help put you in a positive mental space, according to experts, increasing your productivity and creativity.
Smiling has also been linked to lower blood pressure, a better immune system and longer life.
Researchers who studied photos of 230 baseball players from the 1950s found that those with the most genuine smiles tended to live the longest.
Smiling when running can relieve muscle tension and make you faster, while people who smile often are apparently seen as more likeable and attractive.
Experts have identified one particular smile – known as the 'affiliation smile' – that can help repair trust after someone has been untrustworthy.
Even a forced smile can improve your mood. One study found that people who smiled when recovering from stressful tasks had lower heart rates than those who had neutral expressions.
Meanwhile, smiling or grimacing while getting an injection can significantly reduce the pain from the needle.
And smiling doesn't just impact your mood – it's considered contagious because it prompts other people to 'mirror' your expression and smile back.