The Proof Is In: 101 Things That Are Guaranteed to Make You Smile

Sometimes, it can be hard to find things to smile about. 

Whether going through a difficult time or just feeling stressed and distracted by your regular routine, it’s not always easy to stop and enjoy the little moments

Finding something to make you smile requires paying attention and being more mindful as you go through your day. 

Once you deliberately start to look, you might be surprised by the things you find to make you smile.

The Science Behind What Makes People Smile

According to a report in BritishCouncil.org, “When our brains feel happy, endorphins are produced and neuronal signals are transmitted to your facial muscles to trigger a smile.

This is the start of the positive feedback loop of happiness.”

That’s the science behind smiling, but the types of things that make most of us smile include:

  • A positive relationship experience
  • A joyful or significant positive event
  • Something humorous or witty
  • Beauty and kindness
  • A happy memory or anticipation of a positive event

What makes you smile might not be the same for others.

After all, everyone has their own way of viewing the world and what they find smile-worthy.

Why Is Smiling Good For You?

While everyone has different reasons for smiling, we all share one commonality when it comes to showing our pearly whites — the real health benefits of smiling!

These include:

  • Release of endorphins, which cause temporary pain relief
  • Temporarily reducing your blood pressure
  • Reducing stress
  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Improving your mindset
  • Making you look younger
  • Improving your lifespan

101 Things That Will Make You Smile

Countless things happen daily that can make you smile if you watch for them.

From the big to the small, smiley things are always happening, so keep your eyes, ears, and mind open. Soon those endorphins will be flooding in!

1. Giving someone a hug

2. Visiting the beach and listening to the crashing of the waves

3. Seeing a rainbow after a thunderstorm 

4. The sounds of a river running 

5. Getting a massage

6. A phone call with a good friend 

7. Getting the answers right during a trivia contest or show

8. The sound of birds in the morning 

9. Kicking back with a new book

10. The smell of a hot cup of coffee or tea

11. Cooling off in the pool on a hot, sweaty day

12. Cuddling with your favorite person

13. Getting a surprise hug or kiss from your child

14. Having your hair done

15. Seeing an elderly couple holding hands

16. Waking up feeling rested and refreshed after a good night’s sleep

17. Watching the clouds float by on a bright day

18. Having a vase of beautiful flowers in your house

19. Taking a hot shower on a chilly day

20. Meeting up with an old friend

21. Seeing a cute baby animal

22. Coming upon a beautiful view

23. Eating a delicious ice cream sundae with your favorite toppings

24. Standing up and moving your limbs after sitting for a long time

25. Dancing to your favorite song

26. Swinging on a porch swing or hammock and watching the world go by

27. Walking barefoot through the grass on a summer day

28. Going outside and enjoying the fresh air after being cooped up inside

woman hugging a good friend what makes you smile

29. Accomplishing something you’ve been working at for a long time

30. The sound of rain on the sidewalk

31. Having dinner with good friends or family 

32. Leaving the window open and enjoying the breeze on a beautiful day

33. Getting to know a new friend

34. Watching your kids sleep peacefully

35. Waking up in the middle of the night and realizing you still have time to sleep

36. Someone bringing you a fresh cup of something to drink

37. Cooking a delicious meal for your family (or just yourself!)

38. Going for a leisurely drive to enjoy the scenery

39. Waking up to find a fresh coat of snow on the ground

40. Petting a dog or cat

41. Going for a swim on a hot summer day

42. Picking flowers and enjoying the scent 

43. Stopping for a few minutes to meditate or say a prayer 

44. Watching the sun go down

45. Doing a cartwheel like when you were a kid

46. Reaching a goal that you’ve been working toward

47. Hearing a song that brings up good memories

48. Doing something that makes someone else smile

49. Going out for drinks or dinner with friends 

50. Finding something you thought you had lost 


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51. Watching the rain all while curled up in a blanket

52. Offering an act of kindness for a neighbor

53. Getting some much-needed exercise after putting it off

54. Enjoying a treat from your favorite bakery

55. Getting someone a birthday card or gift 

56. Doing something childlike, like going on a swing or throwing water balloons

57. Helping someone in need

58. Sinking into a warm bubble bath

man cuddling his cute dog what makes you smile

59. Spending some one-on-one time with your children

60. Enjoying a lazy day with nothing to do 

61. Watching a silly video on the internet

62. Getting an unexpected compliment

63. Running into an old friend

64. Watching a favorite old movie you’ve seen many times before

65. Taking a day off from work just to relax

66. Looking at old photos and thinking back on the memories

67. Eating a meal out in the sunshine

68. Writing down all the things you are thankful for 

69. Going for a day trip with friends or your partner

70. Looking at the stars

71. Getting your inbox cleared

72. Unexpected praise from someone who has noticed your hard work

73. A delicious, cold glass of lemonade on a hot day

74. Giving someone a spontaneous gift

75. Getting things checked off your to-do list 

76. Climbing into bed with clean sheets

77. Taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood

78. Organizing your desk and getting rid of the clutter

79. Letting yourself be lazy for an hour

80. Seeing a baby walk for the first time

81. The smell of a bouquet of flowers 

82. A letter or postcard from someone that you miss 

83. A nice exchange with a friendly stranger in the grocery store

84. Looking forward to reuniting with friends 

85. Your favorite song coming on the radio

86. An unexpected kind gesture from a friend or neighbor

87. Getting a closet organized 

88. Cuddles from a child

89. A good meal when you are really hungry

cheerful woman smiling what makes you smile

90. The sound of wind chimes 

91. Watching a favorite old TV show

92. Baking cookies in the oven 

93. Helping someone who needs a hand

94. Sitting outside in the sunshine

95. Going for a walk on a beautiful day

96. The sound of waves crashing on the beach

97. Memories of a happy time with people that you love

98. Good news from a friend or loved one

99. Laughing until your stomach hurts

100. Seeing plants bloom in your garden 

101. The sight of leaves falling in the autumn

Final thoughts

There are many things that will help you smile more daily and turn your frown upside down.

Even making a deliberate effort to smile is good for you, leading to a myriad of health benefits. And this one is most important: smiling has also been shown to be contagious.

Want to have a genuine smile on your face? Read this post and discover what makes you smile so you can be cheerfully happy.

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