Day 13: What I learned from watching Ron Gutman’s Ted Talk “The hidden power of smiling”

Did you know a smile can change your life? In today’s blog post I am going to discuss a Ted Talk by Ron Gutman whose presentation “The hidden power of smiling” reveals some pretty interesting insights about smiling and the effects it can have on your life. To get into the mood of this post I challenge you to read this with a big cheesy grin!


Day 13th 365 Days of Ted - Smile


3 facts about smiling I learnt from Ron Gutman’s Ted Talk

1. Smiling has heaps of benefits

 Ron talks about the 30-year longitudinal study that he was involved with at US Berkley that examined the smiles of students in an old year book.  Based on their smiles the study was able to determine how long their marriages would last and how well they would score in standardised tests of well being. Another study that Ron mentions the  2010 Wayne University research project, actually used old trading cards of baseball players to predict the lifespan of players based on the span of a player’s smile.  That is a pretty solid reason to start smiling more.

2. Smiling is contagious

Smiling is such a simple act that can connect us all, is free to give away, costs us nothing to receive. Children smile as often as 400 times a time and 30% of adults smile more than 20 times a day and 14% of us smile less than 5 times a day! No wonder kids are always so darn happy! Smiling really is contagious. If you smile at someone they will most likely smile right back at you, even if they are unsure as to why you are smiling. I have to admit sometimes when a stranger smiles at me I take a quick peak behind me to see if If was the recipient of that smile – Ive been caught up in to many misdirected waves!

3. A single smile is worth 25 grand!

Ron cites some research that revealed that one single smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as 2000 chocolate bars . A smile can also be as stimulating as receiving 16000 Pounds Sterling, equivalent to 25 grand cash! Another study from Penn State University that Ron references has determined that when we smile others see as a more likeable, courteous and more competent!  I understand the more likeable and courteous part,  but for others to perceive a smile as a measure of competence? Really? I need to start smiling more!


Today’s action step

Today’s action step is to make a conscious effort to smile more to strangers I come across in my everyday life.   The reality is, we have no idea what is going on in the lives of the people whose paths we cross each day. Maybe, just maybe, a genuine smile might brighten their day, even if just for a few minutes. I think that we also need to incorporate reasons into our lives to smile more. Maybe all those Youtube posters are on to something with those cat videos. Find out what it takes to make you smile and do more of that and share the love, well the smile.

If you would like to reach more into the studies that Ron talks about check out his HealthTap website.