Today is World Smile Day, but unlike many international holidays, there is some meaning behind it.
In 1963, Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts, invented the smiley face.
This has had a significant impact on what we are accustomed to seeing in our daily lives; consider social media, messaging, and emojis as examples.
Ball, on the other hand, became concerned about the over-commercialization of his symbol.
As a result, Ball devised the concept of World Smile Day.
His plan was to dedicate one day each year to smiles and kind acts all over the world.
Ball died in 2001, but World Smile Day lives on to honour his legacy and to remind us that kindness and happiness can still prevail in a world awash in negativity.
When is World Smile Day this year?
Every year on the first Friday of October, Ball declared World Smile Day.
It has been held every year in Smiley’s hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, as well as around the world.
World Smile Day was established in 1999.
What is the science behind a smile?
The production of endorphins is the science behind our smile.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters, or chemicals that transmit signals from one neuron to the next.
Neurotransmitters are essential components of our central nervous system.
Endorphins are produced in response to stressful, frightening, or painful situations.
Endorphins are responsible for our feelings of pleasure as well as blocking pain.
Endorphins are released when we exercise or engage in a specific activity in the bedroom, for example.
They are produced by the pituitary gland, the spinal cord, and other parts of the brain and nervous system.
The relationship between a smile and endorphins is that when we are in a happy environment, neuronal signals are sent to our facial muscles, causing us to smile.
This initiates the onset of a positive mood.
Interestingly, when we smile, our muscles send a signal back to the brain, stimulating our reward system. This has a positive multiplier effect, increasing our endorphin levels.
What are the advantages of smiling?
There are numerous advantages to flaunting your pearly whites.
A smile can be used to express happiness, humour, flirtation, embarrassment, or even anger.
Dr. Khaled Kasem, Chief Orthodontist at Impress, Europe’s leading orthodontics chain, explains why smiling for a few minutes every day is good for you and everyone around you.
Smiling relieves stress.
‘When we smile, our bodies release dopamine and serotonin, which can improve our mood,’ he says.
‘The happier you are, the less stress you will feel, and the more stressed you are, the more damaging to your teeth you will be.’
‘For example, increased muscle tension may cause involuntary tooth grinding, also known as Bruxism, which can cause cracks and chips in your teeth.
‘That’s why, even if you don’t feel like it, putting on a happy face can trick your body into thinking it’s happy, and the benefits will follow!’
Smiling strengthens your immune system.
Smiling not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also improves your physical health.
‘A healthy immune system is essential because it helps your body fight off infections like colds and flus, and it also protects your mouth against damaging bacteria that may be attacking your teeth,’ said Dr Kasem.
‘Your immune system improves as you relax, and as you smile, you relax even more – it’s a win-win!’
Smiling spreads like wildfire.
‘Smiling not only elevates your mood and relieves signs of stress and tension, but it can also change the mood of those around you,’ Dr. Kasem explained.
‘Smiling is contagious, so if you’re smiling, chances are those around you are too – spread the smiles and spread the benefits!’
Smiling increases productivity.
Do you have a deadline to meet? You’ll be well on your way to success if you smile.
‘The more you laugh and smile, the more motivated you will feel,’ said Dr Kasem.
‘That work-ethic can mean the difference between a good and a bad day, which is why it’s so important to be confident in your smile and show off those pearly whites!’
Smiling extends your life.
While there may be no fountain of youth, smiling may be the next best thing.
‘Numerous studies over in the US indicate that smiling helps you live longer!’ said Dr. Kasem.
‘According to a study published in 2010 by researchers Abel and Kruger, smiling baseball players lived on average eight years longer than their stoic counterparts. What better reason to be happy?
‘Being confident in your smile is crucial, not least because it increases productivity and helps you live longer.’