When we smile, happy changes begin to take place automatically, both internally and externally. By simply smiling, we can make ourselves happier – by causing psychological and physiological effects that make us healthier mentally and physically.
So here’s our list of 19 ways to help you to discover how to nurture that habit in your daily life and smile more often, even when life is hard:
1. Spend Time in Nature
Studies have found that exposure to sunlight, plants and trees can naturally boost someone’s mood, so start your day by taking a cup of coffee in your garden, going for a walk and intentionally focusing on taking in the fresh air, visiting a local park or botanical garden. Appreciating natural scenery will naturally bring a smile to your face.
2. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Humans have mirror neurons, meaning we have tendency to mimic what those around us do, so being surrounded by optimistic people who smile a lot will make you smile a lot, too, often without you even realizing it. At work, make sure you stop by your funniest co-worker’s desk when you need uplifting – even a five-minute conversation could bring a smile on your face.
3. Reflect On Happy Memories
Look through keepsakes and old photographs, talk about good old times – happy memories can make you smile even when going through challenging times.
4. Watch Funny Things
Funny movies, shows and plays will make you laugh but will also make you smile by default. Moreover, taking the time to watch something that makes you feel good means you’re not spending time watching negative media, so it’s an effortless way to trigger your happy responses and be triggered to smile more.
5. Go On Fun Date Nights
On date night, go to a comedy club, to a restaurant or café where you know the atmosphere is upbeat, or simply stay home, watch a funny movie or play a funny game. The point is to laugh more with your partner – it will keep your relationship strong and benefit your wellbeing at the same time.
6. Spend Time with Your Loved Ones
Spending time with the people we care about the most, such as family and friends, makes you smile more, so make sure you spend enough quality time connecting with them on regular bases.
7. Keep Smiling Cues Around
To remember to smile more simply have smiling cues nearby your day, such as a coffee mug that makes you smile, funny socks, photos of your loved ones, drawings your children made or funny birthday cards.
8. Do Spontaneous Things
Spontaneity triggers automatic smiles, because it’s exciting. Your brain is happy because it’s doing something out of the norm and that lights up all its neurons like a firework display. It helps your brain learn new things and form new neuropathways, all of which keep you healthy. So your brain rewards you with happy feelings and makes you smile to reinforce the idea that you should do this more often.
9. Count Your Blessings
You’ve likely heard the advice to write down the things you’re grateful for each day in a gratitude journal. Turns out there is science behind the advice, but only to a point. One study found people who wrote those things down once a week were actually happier than those who wrote them down more often.
10. Eat A Delicious Meal
Whether you take time in the morning to make a full breakfast or have a great lunch at your favorite restaurant, enjoying your favorite foods can give a boost to your day. You’ll also have something to look forward to each day.
11. Sign Up for Funny Deliveries
Find websites dedicated entirely to funny content and sign up to newsletters or apps that deliver jokes, funny pictures or funny videos to your inbox as regularly as you like; or, you can always use a humorous daily tear-off calendar.
12. Set A Fun Goal for Yourself
For a month, set up a goal that will be beneficial for you and bring some smiles along the way, such as drinking half your weight in water daily, making someone else laugh three times a day, reading one fun book a month, playing with your or someone else’s pet once a day, etc. – whatever works for you and would make you smile – whether it’s because the act feels good or because you are achieving your goals.
13. Keep A Smile Journal
At the end of each day write a brief description of every instance you smiled and why – you saw a n adorable baby, an old friend called you, the sun came out after a lot of rain, someone said something nice to you, etc. Over time, you’ll start to notice a pattern and recognize the things that make you smile; then you can make a conscious effort to seek out such instances and interactions in your daily life. Also, keeping a smile journal will remind you of moments when you felt happy during the times you’re feeling low.
14. Do Something Nice for Yourself
A lot of us often spend so much time taking care of other people and various tasks that we forget to take care of ourselves. Doing nice and feel good things for yourself, like reading a lovely book with a nice cup of tea, taking a bubble bath, or watching a puppy play with a toy can lift your spirits and generate more smiles.
15. Have a Smiling Practice
If you’re not the kind of person who smiles a lot naturally, try starting your day by committing to practice your smile in front of a mirror. Every morning, look in the mirror and smile at yourself, focusing on making the smile look genuine by slowly extending it to your eyes. Keep practicing when no one else is around, in the bathroom, in bed, in your car, and you’ll get used to what it looks and feels like to smile more, teaching you to replicate those sensations more naturally.
16. Do Something Nice for Someone Else
Doing a good deed can make you feel better about yourself, while also making the world a better place, and it doesn’t need to be something huge. Even little things can make someone’s day a little easier and better, bringing a smile to their and to your face. Volunteer somewhere close to your heart, make a donation to charity (even if small), hold the door for someone, buy a coffee for the person standing in line behind you, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog, etc.
17. Listen to Uplifting Music
Listen to music that has a bouncy tune or inspirational lyrics – it can have a great affect on an emotional and physical level. It can be during your morning commute or on the train bus to work each day, as you cook or clean, etc.
18. Hang Out with a Little Kid
Little kids really know how to laugh and smile, and they do it so often. They’ll laugh at just about anything, and a little kid’s laugh will make you at least smile, if not laugh aloud as if you were a kid yourself.
19. Take Deep Breaths While You Smile
A deep breath or two as you smile will help lessen any stress you have and increase the relaxation, while increasing mood-enhancing power of smiling. This will allow you to enjoy your smile even more.
We hope you enjoy this list of ways to smile more in New Year and that your 2019 will be abundant with many more reasons to smile!
Our greatest satisfaction comes from creating or restoring a healthy and confident smile for you!
Learn more about smile makeovers and Lancaster, PA general dentist who continues to be one of the most recognized and trusted dental offices in the area.