If you’ve ever spent time with a depressed person, you probably already know that depression is contagious. If we are constantly exposed to negative attitudes and emotions, they tend to rub off on us and affect our thinking. The good news is that this works the other way as well. Having a positive attitude can rub off on a depressed or severely stressed person and help them start to feel better. So if you’re around someone whose feeling burnt out, or just want to improve the attitudes of people around you, just take some time to share a smile.

There have been tons of studies done to show that smiling makes us feel better. Just the physical act of smiling improves our mood and helps shift our thoughts from negative to positive. Sure, we usually smile when we’re happy already, but studies have shown that smiling helps uplift our spirits and improve our mood even when it’s forced or if we don’t know we’re doing it at all!

Sure, smiling makes you feel better, but how does that help de-stress someone else? Next time you walk past someone on the street or in a hallway, try this experiment: look at them, smile, and then watch their face. Chances are they’ll smile back. When someone smiles at us, we tend to smile, whether it’s on purpose or just by instinct.

Smiling is contagious, and as I already said, just the act of smiling makes that person feel better about life. Sure, the smile’s probably forced, but it works either way.

Want to know what’s even more infectious than a smile? A positive attitude. If we think positively, and point out the good things in life, we encourage others around us to do so to. Since smiling puts us in a better mood, we’re not only spreading stress relief through getting other people to smile, we’re also doing it by spreading our good mood. That makes smiling a double whammy.

Are you more likely to be friends with a person who smiles and is kind to you or someone who is always busy, stressed, and never pays attention to you? Hopefully you answered the person who is kind to you. Being pleasant and smiling at a person makes them more likely to open up and be friends with you, and friends are a fantastic stress reliever. It gives us someone to share problems with, relax with, or just blow off steam to. Don’t stop smiling once someone is your friend. A smile can be a silent show of support or a reminder of friendship.

So, what are you waiting for? Help de-stress someone around you while giving your cheeks a workout. Smile!