Healthy Inspiration – What a Smile can Do for you – Safe and Healthy Travel

What does a smile do to and for you? Everyone knows: Smiling is healthy. Yet we often know very little about what is healthy about smiling then. I started looking into that and came across some surprising effects but also read some super interesting facts. That is of course also the reason why I like to share this useful positive inspiration with you.

Would you like to know what a smile can do for you? Then read on.

Healthy Inspiration - What a Smile can Do for you
Morocco – Atlas mountains – 2013

How does a smile affect you?

  • You produce happiness hormones in your body

These happiness hormones instantly make you happier. Those happiness hormones are dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. If you know this why not take advantage of it? Even if you produce a smile without any cause, something will change in your body. Your thoughts often adjust very easily and without you knowing it, your thoughts are milder, you think of other solutions and you see an unexpected turn of events coming.

  • It reduces stress in your body

Because you produce happiness hormones, the stress hormone cortisol will have to give way. This, of course, has all kinds of positive effects. Cortisol, of course, is not very healthy in the body; it is known to constrict your blood vessels. Blood can flow more easily again and so can fine and positive energy.

In addition, good blood flow naturally has another positive effect in all sorts of other areas. It reduces chances of heart-related diseases by increasing the supply to the heart again.

Healthy Inspiration - What a Smile can Do for you - With the Masai in Kenya
Selfie with the Masai

  • Your muscles relax more easily.

The muscles in your face actually relax immediately when you smile. Feel it. When you make a smile, your eyebrows and forehead will relax. Your cheeks also join in and come into a more relaxed position. If you want to do this consciously, you need to have a much better contact with your body to notice and experience where that tension is. In addition, the trick is then to release that tension.

  • It encourages fine thoughts instead of negative thoughts.

Laughter, through the production of those happy hormones, has the nice side effect of having a calming and pain-relieving effect. It makes you feel carefree and cheerful. Who wouldn’t want that? You can simply consciously induce this by putting that smile on your face a little more often. It will start with a manufactured smile but slowly you will feel it draw in.

Fake it until you make it!

A nice laugh session leaves you thinking more clearly afterwards. Helps increase your concentration and will therefore make you more productive.

  • It makes you more beautiful

We can age through worry wrinkles but you can also make sure your face wears a smile a little more often. Try to think about that and what expression your face shows. Often we are not aware of it. Often when you are in the car and just driving from point A to point B you are expressionless…. At least you think you are. Try to put a little smile on your face at those very moments. Be aware of that and then notice what it does to your thoughts in the meantime!

Healthy Inspiration - What a Smile can Do for you - Smiling woman in Bagan - Myanmar

Did you know that laughter also has a positive effect on the immune system?

In people who laugh often, stress-related hormones in the body decrease as I wrote earlier. Furthermore, the number of activated T-cells and natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell crucial for protecting the body against tumours and infections, increases.(Source

Smiling is healthy – Not just for you

  • How does your smile affect the other person?

So apart from the fact that the smile does a lot to you, it also does for you. It is surprising how people respond differently to you, how people assess you as a nicer person or open to interaction. Maybe you had already noticed this consciously. You are more accessible to others and this creates more connection with those around you.

  • You often get a smile in return.

The amount of people who spontaneously say hello is also a lot higher when I wear a smile on my face. I make eye contact and ‘grant’ people my smile. It just does something to you and to the other person. There is real contact, people like that. Very few people look away and find it uncomfortable.

Of course, there is a difference in a brief eye contact or looking at someone longer and smiling. But a brief moment in passing is always nice. Of course, in this day and age, it can be perceived differently if you look at someone for a bit longer, smiling in the process and inviting contact. Especially if it’s a man to a woman….. But really, smiling is healthy and let’s not make it too difficult. Keep smiling and giving each other just that little moment where you are allowed to be there. In which we are just people in this world together.

Healthy Inspiration - What a Smile can Do for you - Do you see the photobomb?
How funny is this photo bomb!! That makes you happy, doesn’t it?

  • People judge you as a pleasant person and also approach you that way

Strangers I meet on the street are more likely to say hello to me if I smile. I get a smile back and that makes me happy. Especially when travelling, I find it super to see that first contact is made so easily if you show with a smile that you are open to the other person.

When I was travelling with Abhinav from ASoulWindow, he was so surprised that so many people said hello to me. Then we started testing that if he sought eye contact and gave a smile how that would work. And it worked! It also made him happy that people welcomed him after all. Because at the end of the day, that’s what it feels like. You are seen and allowed to be there.

Healthy Inspiration - What a Smile can Do for you - Sikkim journey with Jitaditya and Abhinav

I also notice in my work on the street that people with a question dare to come to you on the line more easily if you have an open attitude. People are then more willing to ask a question that in their eyes might be a ‘stupid question’.

What I always like to hear is that sometimes people say, I dared asking you. I am happy that people feel at ease and therefore show more of who they are.

  • Did you know that intense laughter is a workout

You can compare an intense burst of laughter or jeers to a mini workout. That laughter makes you use so many muscles in your body so that your heart rate increases, your breathing speeds up and your oxygen consumption increases. You turn on everything in your body for a moment. Laughing is healthy!

We just lost it at this party in Oman
A costume party had us all in a huff for a while – Oman

Do you also make use of your smile so that life smiles at you?

I’m always reminded of a situation when I had had a report where someone had lost the lust to live. Everything was negative, smiling had not been there for a long time. That little dot at the end of the tunnel hadn’t been seen for a long time. Why should I stay alive was more the question that lingered on the surface.

Later that day, when I was off work and wanted to cross the street, I wasn’t paying very close attention and a car in front of me had to brake. I was startled but looked into the car with a smiling face. I apologised with a hand gesture and obviously wanted to let the car go ahead. The driver looked at me and courteously gestured for me to go ahead. We smiled at each other again and I waved at the car and continued on my way.

It also occurred to me right away that the person I had spoken to just before would probably have reacted differently. That person no longer had a smile on his face. He would have looked startled and maybe even frightened. I also predict a different reaction from the people in the car; irritated and accusing towards the person on the street. That one, of course, should have looked out and was therefore guilty of the situation that had arisen. The car had probably not gallantly let that person pass as it did with me….

So you can see the accumulation set in motion by sometimes very small differences. Little things and gestures that underlie how you experience your day, your life.

So my advice is: Always try to put a little smile on your face. You never know who will be happy about it and what reactions you will get just like that.

Often we are no longer aware of this…

Happy morning on Poon Hill in Nepal

Laughter is healthy and you can easily take advantage of that and soon experience the added value of it.
Do you know that? Do you have any examples for yourself?

Will you keep this meaningful inspiration for yourself
or do you share it with others?

Want to read more meaningful inspiration, though?

What you give your attention grows..  Do make good use of that!

Use the power of positive thinking to your advantage

Enjoy this moment – It is the path to happiness

The Lessons I learned after my first 10 days Vipassana Meditation Course

How about taking a ice bath?

2 minutes into the Ice Bath – Meaningful Travel – Boosting your immune system in the ice bath

I hope you enjoy this beautiful world as much as I do