Has anyone ever advised you to just “grin and bear it?” You may have wanted to punch them at the time but it turns out this advice is well worth heeding.

We all possess the power to change our day and our lives with one simple act: a smile.

The Crystal Ball of Life.
A smile is a universal expression. It means the same thing in every single culture and language on earth. You can smile at anyone and they will understand that you are happy, pleasant, pleased, or friendly.

But beyond that universal expression of friendliness, a smile is a predictor of the life you are leading or will lead.

Your yearbook photo, the photo we all hate of ourselves, can tell a lot about you. Your likelihood of success in life, likelihood of divorce, well-being and longevity. The bigger your smile was, the better off you probably are today.

The span of your smile can predict the span of your life.

Facial feedback (such as a smile, frown, or a scowl) modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain.  Frowning reinforces unhappiness, smiling reinforces happiness. The great thing about this is that if you are unhappy and you put a smile on your face you will instantly feel better. Try it sometime.

Chocolate vs. a Smile
The power of chocolate is real but even chocolate can’t match a smile. While it does produce a chemical response in our brains that stimulates the reward mechanism (another thing that makes us really happy), British researchers discovered that you’d have to eat almost 2,000 chocolate bars to generate the same level of stimulation as one smile. Even better—smiles are calorie-free.

What is a smile worth?
The same British researchers also discovered that a smile is as reward stimulating as being given $25,000 in cash. That’s a huge payoff for a simple act!

Smiling can not only make you feel better, it can make you healthier. Smiling can help reduce the harmful levels of stress-inducing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine and increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins as well as reduce overall blood pressure.

And as if all this was not enough—smiling makes you more attractive to others. It also makes you look more competent. Smile at interviews!

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that even a forced smile can decrease your stress, help you remain calm, and find happiness. When your yoga teacher tells you to smile during a challenging pose or long hold, mind her advice!

It’s nearly impossible to look at someone who is smiling at you and not smile back.
It’s easier to do challenging things when you are smiling.
You can instantly turn your sour mood happy with one smile.

Give someone a smile and brighten the day for both of you!