How would you react if someone told you that your smile could be an indication of your long-term success? You’re probably scoffing right now, and no one could blame you – it does sound a little bit fanciful.
While it is true our lives are affected by many different factors, one study conducted by the University of California, Berkeleysuggests our smile may mean a lot more than we think.
What researchers discovered about smiling
The UC Berkeley study looked at the yearbook photos of a group of university students and measured whether or not they smiled – and if they did, how warmly. They then gathered data on the ongoing success and well-being of each student by conducting surveys on topics such as work, marriage and family at several points over the next 30 years.
Researchers analysed the data in front of them and found a surprising correlation: those who showed more positive emotion in their yearbook photo demonstrated more organisation, drive and focus than their peers, in addition to being more inspiring to others. Even a full 30 years after the yearbook photo, the smiling students reported greater satisfaction with their marriage and personal wellbeing.
Stripping it back to the basics
To understand the meaning of this correlation, it’s important to grasp that a smile is a universal, biological expression used by humans across all cultures and continents. Most of us smile numerous times throughout day without even thinking about it, while kids smile up to several hundred times every day. We often reciprocate a smile if someone directs one at us, and it can go a long way in determining how we form a first impression. Indeed, smiling simply makes us feel good.
Now that we’re looking at smiling as a fundamental part of life as a human, it’s easier to understand why the students who smiled in their yearbook photo were more likely to find general happiness and success. It isn’t magic or any kind of superpower: it’s a simple form of expression that anyone can use.
Smile bigger, brighter and more often
By getting into the habit of smiling each and every day, you are using one of your most powerful tools. It will not only give you a more frequent rush of endorphins – the natural chemicals in our bodies that create feelings of happiness – but also improve your standing in the eyes of others.
These advantages can translate to positive shifts in your career, marriage, family and life in general, so there really is no excuse not to start now. Just smile!
For those who feel reluctant to show off their smile due to staining on the teeth or a general dullness in colour, try an at-home teeth whitening kit as a simple way to brighten your smile without spending a fortune.