The Joyful Revolution - Embracing Smiles for a Better Tomorrow

Smile AM

Smile AM can have an immense power to change our perceptions of life and make us appear more attractive to others.

Columbia College student Vashon Jordan spent last summer photographing Chicago's unrest, compiling them into his new book Chicago Protests: A Joyful Revolution.

The Power of Smiles: Transforming Our World

At times of great turmoil and unrest, a smile may seem like an insignificant gesture to address our many woes. Yet it can be an extremely powerful symbol of hope and affection that transcends all barriers - an act that transcends borders as it spreads kindness around the globe. A simple smile has the ability to change lives forever!

Smiling is one of the simplest, biologically universal behaviors shared among humans, and one of the best ways to make people happy. Research has proven this contagious effect; when someone else smiles at you, your brain releases serotonin which instantly makes you feel good! Smiling also signals trustworthiness and openness - two qualities important factors when building rapport with others.

Long held to be true is the belief that smiling can lead to happiness; this concept is grounded in facial feedback theory (or mirror neuron theory). Charles Darwin and Dick Van Dyke made this claim, and many researchers continue to teach it today in psychology classes. Yet recent research indicates that when people smile their mood only slightly improves while frowning or appearing angry actually decreases it significantly.

Researchers theorize that one reason smiling doesn't always increase happiness is due to it is seen as a signal of deception. If you smile at someone when it isn't true, they may perceive you as dishonest and be less trusting of you.

Researchers who conducted the study also discovered that fake smiles activate the same neural pathways in the brain as genuine ones, yet don't elicit the same emotional response. Furthermore, authentic and genuine people tend to smile more frequently than their less-happy counterparts.

Smiling can help improve both self-esteem and feelings of belongingness and compassion, according to studies conducted by Paul Ekman, one of the world's foremost facial expression experts. One such study, known as Yearbook Photo Study was also performed on smiling, where researchers tracked how many smiles there were in pictures taken at school yearbooks; women wearing more smiles in these yearbook photos lived longer than those without as measured by longevity statistics.

The Joyful Revolution: Smiles For a Positive Future

Smiles can be an extremely effective tool in elevating mood, building empathy, or soothing a racing heart. All it takes to make this happen is one genuine smile - even one without teeth - to have its intended effects. Scientists who study human expressions know this well: Duchenne smiles (which extend from the corners of the mouth towards the eyes to create corner wrinkles that form crow's feet) have proven particularly powerful in accomplishing this task.

At times, even just smiling can create an incredible sense of euphoria - as evidenced by protesters during the Chicago uprisings this summer. Columbia College student Vashon Jordan captured moments of "pure, authentic black joy" during protests against police violence with photographs from his book A Joyful Revolution by Columbia College student Vashon Jordan in Englewood protesters being pepper-sprayed by police; crowds responding to Latrell Allen's death; and at courthouse rallies held against keeping Chicago police officers within schools.

Researchers found that when people feel socially accepted, they tend to smile more readily at others. When scientists asked participants to share part of their paycheck with an acquaintance rather than a stranger or no one at all, those who did so used more Duchenne smiles compared with those who shared with strangers or no one. This study's authors theorized that smiling may serve as a reliable signal that altruistic intentions exist within a group.

Researchers are discovering that our smiles serve other functions, as well. One such study from Wayne State University discovered that baseball players displaying Duchenne smiles in their yearbook photos had half as high an incidence of dying of heart disease compared to those without smiles - this being the first time facial expression has been linked with increased lifespan.

Smile for both yourself and for others--even if it doesn't feel natural at the time. Do it because a smile will help lift your spirits, increase euphoria and encourage perseverance when faced with difficulties. Do it now. Even if it feels awkward.

Embracing Smiles: Change and Well-being

Smiling can bring many advantages, from lifting our mood and relieving stress to helping manage chronic health conditions and possibly even decreasing our risk of dementia in later years. Smiles can help us feel good about ourselves, leading to increased self-esteem and confidence. Studies have also demonstrated how smiling can stimulate reward centers of the brain, increasing feelings of happiness and well-being. Smiling can be an extremely powerful communication tool, conveying empathy towards others and making them feel valued. Therefore, it is vital to find every opportunity to spread happiness and joy; whether that means sharing adorable smile quote cards or volunteering our services, even small acts of positivity can go a long way towards building stronger communities.

Happy people enjoy an overall sense of well-being that extends beyond physical health, encompassing their thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Happiness can contribute to increased levels of meaning and purpose as well as creativity and resilience - leading to improved connections with others - evidenced by happier people being seen more as friendly and self-assured than their counterparts.

Smiling can help improve your mood, ease pain, and boost energy. Smiling can also lower heart rate and regulate blood pressure which are both great benefits to health. Finally, smiling can make you appear more likable and competent as evidenced by studies on its impact on first impressions.

People who smile subconsciously send signals to their brain that indicate safety and confidence, which may explain why so many who want to improve their smile opt for orthodontic treatment - it helps boost both their self-esteem and confidence through improved results of orthodontic care.

Recent research revealed that foster care children receiving free orthodontic treatment had more positive outlooks on life than those without such access, underlining how a beautiful smile can boost both self-esteem and future success.

Smiling for a Better Tomorrow: A Joyful Revolution

Smiles can be used as powerful tools to increase our own happiness, make someone else's day brighter, and even keep ourselves healthier. Smiling uses less muscles than frowning so smiling can help maintain healthy bodies.

Smiling can also help relieve stress. When we smile, our brain releases neurotransmitters that promote positive emotional states and reduce anxiety or depression. Smiling can even lower heart rate and blood pressure levels.

Smiling is an invaluable form of communication that connects us to those around us, and is particularly effective at solving conflicts. Research has demonstrated its power in defusing tension during discussions or debates as well as changing perspectives to make people see things in a more positive light.

By smiling more frequently, those who do are perceived as more confident, relaxed, and approachable compared to those who don't smile as often. Furthermore, smiling has also been shown to spread happiness and cheer - it can even bring down blood pressure!

Celebrate World Smile Day in many different ways - be it telling someone a joke or sharing an encouraging quote about smiling; giving back to the community by performing random acts of kindness - helping someone carry groceries or paying their bills; even gifting someone a piece of ergonomic FlexiSpot furniture could make someone's day!

On the first Friday in October, take time to celebrate the happiness and share its benefits by smiling! Give it your all and don't hesitate to show some happiness this month with genuine smiles that mean everything to you! So go ahead, flash that beautiful grin of yours -- just be sure it is for all the right reasons!

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