World wonders why you're smilin'

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Recently, a friend asked me why I don't smile while I'm typing. She went on to say it makes me look mean. I thought about what she said for a minute and realized she's probably right. Not about me being mean, but about me not smiling when I'm really working.

How many people actually smile while they work?

Is it important to smile? I mean, I like to smile, but I guess when I'm concentrating I never think of it as being important -- I never really think about it at all.

In a recent newsletter for about.com, Dr. Mark Stibich said there are at least 10 reasons to smile -- and some of them even have health implications.

Stibich said not only does smiling make you more attractive, but it makes people pay attention to you. The idea is that people are naturally curious and want to know why you are smiling.

Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away -- but a smile draws them in.

He also said that smiling changes our mood, that it can trick the body into helping you change your mood.

Have you ever been depressed or in a bad mood and just smiled at yourself in the mirror?

I tried it, and I really did start to laugh and instantly felt a lot better.

Another reason to smile, according to Stibich, is that smiling is contagious.

Have you ever been walking down the street and just smiled at someone? I have, and generally they do smile back. What about trying to smile at everybody you see today? Would people think you were crazy or just really, really happy? I wonder.

Smiling actually relieves stress. Dr. Stibich said smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down and overwhelmed.

Smiling also helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves, possibly because you are more relaxed.

When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure.

Here's a test that he suggested: If you have a blood pressure monitor at home, sit and take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Is there a noticeable difference?

Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins -- natural pain killers -- and serotonin. Together these make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug and one without side affects.

Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached.

Finally, Stibich said the most important reason to smile is that it helps us to think and be positive.

I've looked back over the doctor's list and realized he left off one good reason that we all should smile: simply because we are living and breathing and just because we can.

Now that's something to smile about.


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