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Smiling Is Contagious

smiling clouds

“Whenever I see your smiling face, I have to smile myself,” crooned James Taylor.

It’s true. Smiling is contagious. There’s more…smiling is easy, free, and good for you. And smiling has never been more important than over the past several years when we’ve all been exceptionally grateful for reassuring, caring, and warm smiles.

The smile is fascinating and unlike any other form of communication among humans.
A smile is free…no charge, no expenditure; but of tremendous, in fact, immeasurable value
Smiles are universally one of our first forms of communication
Smiles are innate…instinctual. They don’t need to be learned
Smiles are a trademark feature, the most recognizable part of a face. In fact, it’s reported that people can identify people by their smiles as far as 300 feet away

Not all smiles are equal

There are actually different types of smiles, all of which involve lifting the corners of the mouth. However, the most important and sincere smile, one of genuine enjoyment and happiness, is the Duchenne smile. Named after a 19th Century scientist who mapped facial expressions, the Duchenne smile features not only the curving of the mouth but also the crumbling of skin around the eyes into crows’ feet. In 2009, the model Tara Banks coined the term ‘smize’ to describe the smile that reaches your eyes.

What a smile does for you

Psychology Today shares that a smile possesses superpowers. These include making you look younger, more attractive, and thinner. One might go so far as calling smiles, ‘instant facelifts.’ Smiles also make you look more courteous and approachable and help you connect with others. Finally, smiles make a person feel and look more confident.

Smiles elevate your mood and create a sense of well-being. As a result of a smile, dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are released, making you feel good and even serving as a natural pain reliever. Behavioral psychologist Sara Stevenson reported, “Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. ”A fascinating thing about smiles is that even if they’re ‘fake,’ they can lead to a mood boost by tricking your brain into thinking they’re real!

Furthermore, smiling can help lower blood sugar and stress and elevate your immune system. It’s even reported that smiling, and living with happiness, can lead to a longer life.

What smiles do for others

“A warm smile is a universal language of kindness”, said poet William Arthur Ward.

Superpowers are most significant because of how they positively impact others. By sharing smiles, you are doing your part in spreading joy. Sharing a smile is like bestowing a reward. The person on the receiving end of a smile feels reassured, at ease, and more connected.

The release of endorphins and feel-good chemicals on the part of the person smiling is contagious. Psychiatrist Dr. Naveen Jayaram said, “Even looking at people who are smiling has the same positive effect.” Dr. Jayaram added, ‘You should be aware of how often you smile and increase the frequency accordingly!”

Thank the Smiling Eyes at Monarch Landing

Over the past two years, the employees of Monarch Landing independent senior living community in Naperville and The Springs Health and Rehabilitation Center have perfected many skills. In addition to caring for and serving the residents with their consistent dedication, they’ve done so with their warm, loving smizes, their smiles that have reached their eyes, above the masks obscuring their mouths.

This has been recognized and appreciated by the residents. Employees are not permitted to accept gratuities or gifts from the residents. The Staff Appreciation Fund is the once-a-year opportunity to collective thank the employees who have kept residents healthy, safe, and engaged. This year, as always, the residents of Monarch Landing were gracious and generous in their gratitude to their beloved staff.