Posted by in Features.

Two Galway girls, Sofia Badalova from Knocknacarra and Caoimhe Keenan from Carnmore, have proven that smiling improves your mood and health, in their project “Smile for a G☺☺d M☺☺d and G☺☺d Health”, which they presented at the Sci Fest at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. The two 2nd year students in Dominican College, Taylor’s Hill investigated the impact of smiling on people’s mood and on blood pressure measurements.

The students showed a humorous video clip to 70 people and then asked them to respond to a survey.

  • 94% responded that smiling puts them in a good mood
  • 86% responded that having someone smile at them puts them in a good mood
  • 92% responded that they think that smiling is contagious

Additionally, using a Home Digital blood pressure monitor the students measured 30 people’s blood pressure after 3 minutes of sitting relaxed without smiling. Then they measured the same people’s blood pressure following 3 minutes of sitting relaxed whilst smiling. 87% of the participants had a decrease in their blood pressure after sitting relaxed for three minutes whilst smiling.

In their presentation the teenagers reported that the smile is the most scientifically studied human facial expression, that there are two types of smile—the Duchenne (genuine) smile and the Fake smile—and that we all smile in the same language.

Previous published research has shown in relation to mood that smiling can make you feel happy even when you’re not, it can reduce depression and anxiety, people with Duchenne smiles live happier lives, and that within social networks, when one person is happy, the feeling migrates to two people beyond them.

Research on smiling in relation to health has concluded that people with Duchenne smiles live longer, feel less pain, have better sleep, and lower blood pressure readings.

Other reported benefits of smiling are that it makes people more attractive—that’s why you’re asked to smile in photographs! Smiling also tones the muscles in your face. As people who smile can convince others more easily, a genuine smile could be an important tool in making friends, in forming relationships, in attracting the opposite sex and even in helping to make a good impression at a job interview.

Caoimhe and Sofia concluded that with the numerous reported benefits of smiling and the results of their investigations that smiling ‘improves mood and health’.