Smile your way to health

I can take myself and life a little too seriously.

Being an adult comes with many demands and responsibilities.

Working in the healthcare field was serious business, after all.  Life felt serious, and this belief seemed to harden the expression on my face.

With so much to do, there wasn’t much to smile about.

It turns out smiling is a simple, but powerful practice to support our health and happiness.

I love being around people who smile.

Our facial expression either attracts or repels people. A smile is like a magnet, drawing people to us, while a frown or scowl pushes people away.

If you want to draw people in, smiling is a powerful tool.

I’ve witnessed this with my friend, Lori. She has the best smile, and wears it often. Nothing beats someone breaking into a wide grin when they see you.

The sight of Lori’s smiling face causes me to soften and relax, as I am drawn to smile back at her. I can’t help it, and it feels good.

I was curious; is smiling simply a nicety, or is there more to it?

Scientists were also curious about the effects of smiling, and I like what they’ve revealed.  

While there’s a strong link between the toothy grin and longevity, there are even more immediate benefits we can experience on a daily basis.


  • Make us more attractive and appear younger
  • Reduces stress hormones and decreases the stress response in our bodies
  • Elevates our moods, through stimulating positive neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Boosts our immune system
  • Lowers our blood pressures
  • Is like a natural drug. It makes us feel better, even reducing body pain.
  • Helps us look on the bright side, even when challenge arises
  • Makes us appear successful
  • Is contagious, and is one of the best viruses we can spread.

Smiling sends a reward signal to our brains, which then sends a signal of happiness to the body. It becomes a positive-feedback loop.

A genuine smile positively changes our brains.

The scientist within me decided to conduct my own experiment to find out if a simple smile could make me feel better. I must admit, at first it felt odd, smiling for nothing, but then I noticed a shift inside my body.

I now make it a practice to remember to smile, especially when I’m feeling stressed. Instead of letting my face harden into my old mask of concentration, I pause and remember to smile.

I allow the muscles around my eyes and the corners of my mouth to soften and lift. I can feel the changes this makes to my body and my mind. Letting our eyes smile is an important part of the equation.

 The scientists are right, and I’ve learned I don’t have to wait for something to smile about.

While a genuine smile is the most effective, even a forced smile, moving the facial muscles causes a positive shift inside our brains and bodies.

Researcher Andrew Newberg offered suggestions to learn how to create a genuine smile.

“Visualize someone they deeply love, or recall an event that brought them deep satisfaction and joy. It’s such an easy exercise, and we train people to do it.”

I used to wait until there was something to smile about, but no more.

In doing so, I’ve found more reasons to smile. I’ve made it a practice, even pausing to smile before answering the phone. People can tell if your smiling, even if they can’t see you.

Smile! You just might like it. So might others you encounter.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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