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Can smiling more trick you into being happy (if you’re not feeling it)?

  • Hazel Butterfield
  • 04 April 2023

How many reasons do you need to smile?

Can smiling more trick you into being happy (if you’re not feeling it)?


Yes, smiling more can trick your brain into feeling happier. When you smile, even if it's forced or fake, it sends a signal to your brain that you are happy, which releases certain hormones, such as dopamine and endorphins, that make you feel good. This is sometimes referred to as the "facial feedback hypothesis."

In fact, studies have shown that intentionally smiling can improve mood and reduce stress levels, even if the smile is not genuine. So if you're feeling down, try smiling more often, even if you have to force it at first. It might just help improve your mood and make you feel happier!


There are countless reasons to smile (even if we sometimes need a reminder), both big and small, and they can vary from person to person. Here are some common reasons that people might smile:

  1. Happiness: When we are happy, we naturally smile. Whether it's because of a happy event, a funny joke, or simply feeling content and fulfilled, happiness is one of the most common reasons people smile.

  2. Love: Being around someone we love or receiving affection from them can make us smile.

  3. Kindness: Receiving an act of kindness from someone else, or performing one ourselves, can bring a smile to our face.

  4. Accomplishments: Achieving a goal or completing a task we've been working hard on can bring a sense of pride and happiness that can cause us to smile.

  5. Good news: Receiving positive news, such as a job offer or the birth of a child, can bring a smile to our faces.

  6. Laughter: Whether it's from a funny movie, a comedian, or just sharing a laugh with friends, laughter is a powerful tool to bring a smile to our faces.

  7. Beauty: Seeing something beautiful, whether it's a sunset, a work of art, or a well-designed building, can bring joy and appreciation that can lead to a smile.

  8. Gratitude: Expressing or feeling gratitude for the good things in our lives can bring a sense of happiness and contentment that can lead to a smile.

  9. Music: Listening to music we enjoy or playing an instrument ourselves can bring a sense of joy and pleasure that can lead to a smile.

These are just a few examples, but ultimately, there are countless reasons to smile, and what brings a smile to one person's face may not necessarily do the same for another person.



Time To Take Action

I am terrible at smiling. Whether I am happy or not, it just doesn’t naturally sit on my face, even since I was a kid. Pouting, I can do and generally is preferable to the way a smile looks on me. As it doesn’t naturally sit on my face, it looks scarily albeit unintentionally, bordering on demented.

So I have stuck random post it notes about my house and workstation to remind me to smile, to try and accustom my face to it. Honestly. Many things in life take practice and I’m hoping this is similar.

Who knows, in no time my Instagram could be filled with lashings of smiley updates.

If all else fails maybe this will help – “Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you’re up to.”