03/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Financial Crisis Aside: The Power of the Presidential Smile

I watched the President's address last night and wow! I could not help but to be positively and happily affected by all the infectious smiles from both sides of the aisle -- in particular both President Obama's smile and Vice President Biden's smile.

Did you know that one of the best things you can do for yourself and for everyone around you is to smile? Smiling brings oxygen to your brain, immediately makes you feel better, and sends out comforting messages to others. (Last night's speech was comforting, wasn't it?) Smiling pulls people in nice and close.

A true smile comes from genuine pleasure. Two sets of facial muscles are used to create this smile. The first set is in the cheeks that pull up the corners of the mouth; the second set is around the eyes. These muscles cause the eyes to narrow and crinkle.

Smiling can make you look like an inviting, accepting, likable and pleasant person (even if you're not). When you first meet someone, if you don't smile that person is likely to think that you're not interested in or attracted to them. They may even think you are a cold potato. So, even if you're feeling blue or simply not in the mood to smile, do yourself a favor -- smile anyway. Fake it until you make it!

The health benefits of smiling are plentiful.

Smiling ...
-increases the production of endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin, a hormone that regulates your mood;
-boosts your immune system and increases the number and activity of antibodies that fight infection;
-lowers your blood pressure;
-helps you to relax;
-relieves stress;
-enhances respiratory function;
-exercises 15-26 facial muscles;
-makes you look younger as it lifts the face; and
-fires up various parts of the brain!

More fabulous facts about smiling that are sure to make you smile:

- 72% of people think that those who smile frequently are confident and successful;
- 86% of people are more likely to talk to strangers if they are smiling;
- bosses are 12% more likely to promote people who smile a lot;
- research shows that 65% of communication is non-verbal (some say even higher); and
- studies show that happiness is a by-product of smiling, not that those who are happy smile as most people assume.

Side Note: "In ancient China, the Taoists taught that a constant inner smile, a smile to oneself, insured health, happiness and longevity. Why? Smiling to yourself is like basking in love: you become your own best friend. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself." -Mantak Chia

The simple act of smiling can change your day.
Say Cheese!

Spread the happy word ... not the icing!


You can find out more about Janice Taylor, Life & Happiness Coach, Author of the Our Lady of Weight Loss books by visiting Our Lady of Weight Loss/Beliefnet Blog and Janice's webiste, Our Lady of Weight Loss.
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