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It is well known that a wide smile makes people feel warm and welcomed. However, there are lots of other positive effects associated with smiling which many people are unaware of.

Here Susannah Schaefer, CEO of Smile Train, shares five key facts about smiling which you may not already know, in the hope that it will encourage more people around the world to smile and create smiles for others.

Smiling is a universal sign of happiness Susannah Schaefer says: “Smiling is one of the very few gestures which means the same thing all around the globe. Handshakes, thumbs up, and hugs can have completely different meanings in different countries however, the meaning of a smile is universal. This means that you can travel anywhere in the world and communicate happiness.”

Smiling makes you more approachable Susannah Schaefer says: “A smile suggests that you are approachable, personable, and trustworthy. In fact, smiling connotes positivity in general. Psychology has shown that smiling makes you more attractive to others. This is because a smile is an inviting facial expression which eases tension and makes people feel comfortable around each other. People are more likely to engage socially with someone they perceive to be friendly, and a smile is the perfect way to demonstrate this.”

Smiling lowers stress

Susannah Schaefer says: “When a person is smiling, it affects certain muscles within the body that make you feel happy. The movement of muscles in your face releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling. These endorphins lower stress levels, which improves your mood. Even if you are not feeling happy, endorphins will trick your body to think that you are. So the more you smile and stimulate your brain to release this chemical, the happier you will feel.”

Smiling helps your heart

Susannah Schaefer says: “The release of endorphins through smiling also increases blood ow and lowers blood pressure. This means that you can lower your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems – just by cracking a smile! Endorphins have many great health bene ts and a simple smile will have you feeling good on the outside, as well as the inside.”

Smiling boosts your immune system

Susannah Schaefer says: “Laughing and smiling also encourages the release of serotonin. Like endorphins, serotonin is a neurotransmitter which contributes to a person’s happiness and wellbeing. Serotonin has many positive benefits – one of which is boosting the immune system. So laughter and smiling really is the best type of medicine!”

The international children’s charity, Smile Train, provides free training and education for local doctors and medical professionals in over 85 developing countries, to transform the lives of children who are living with cleft lips and palates, by giving them the power of a smile.

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