It’s easy, it’s simple and it’s contagious. A smile.

The term contagious normally evokes images of someone coughing, sneezing and spreading all sorts of undesirable germs. Well, a smile spreads the good stuff and it’s something that is definitely worth putting out there.

Smiling sets off an incredibly beneficial reaction in your body. It triggers the production of endorphins. These are neurotransmitters that promote feelings of well-being, reduce stress and assist healing and good health generally.

A smile that overflows shows up as laughter. Dr Annette Goodheart was a psychotherapist from Santa Barbara, California and the inventor of a therapy based on the benefits of laughter. In the late 1960s, Goodheart created a framework to formally use laughter therapeutically.

Another person who used the simplicity and power of a smile in a more traditional setting was Patch Adams. In hospitals, he set about creating fun, smiles, and laughter to entertain and improve a patients experience in the moment and promote healing and recovery after procedures and treatments.

Studies have shown that laughter significantly increases people’s pain threshold by as much as 10%. As well as unleashing a rush of stress-busting endorphins, a good laugh actually provides a workout for your muscles.

Some of the benefits of smiling are said to be:
• Reduces stress
• Elevates mood
• Boosts immune function
• Lowers blood pressure
• Makes you look younger

It makes perfect sense to use this simple expression to improve your experience of life each day. Why wouldn’t you? Even on those days that test you. Those times when you feel like there’s not much to smile about. This is when the power of a smile really comes into its own.

You see, if you put a huge smile on your face and hold it there for 30 seconds, your brain begins to reward you with all the benefits a smile produces, regardless of if the smile is genuine or not. Harness the power of a smile every day. Watch a good comedy. Tell or listen to a good joke. Lighten up and don’t sweat the small stuff. Change your perspective and see things in a different way to bring a smile to your face. Or, if absolutely necessary, fake it till you make it and paste a big smile on your face for at least 30 seconds to activate the power of a smile.

A smile is a universal language. A smile is contagious. Get out there and spread it around. At home, work, school and any other opportunity you have. Gift a smile to a perfect stranger and start a chain reaction. Let’s create a smile epidemic.

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
– Mother Teresa