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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Say "Cheese" for BBC Headroom's What Makes You Smile campaign

The BBC is urging the nation to smile its way to better mental wellbeing with a new campaign that highlights the health benefits of simple positive things we can all do every day.

In the run up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday 10 October 2009, the What Makes You Smile campaign will launch online at and at the BBC Big Screens around the country from Monday 28 September.

The campaign will invite celebrities and members of the public to share what makes them smile and encourage people to do something everyday to make them smile, taking a simple step towards better mental health.

Campaign Executive Nina Bell explains: "Smiling is the universal sign of wellbeing. It's scientifically proven that smiling makes you feel and look happier, healthier and more attractive.

"BBC Headroom is all about finding simple, effective ways of encouraging people to take better care of their mental health - and what could be simpler than smiling?

"We want people to tell us what makes them smile. By just thinking about what makes us happy, we already start to feel better and more positive.

"And the straightforward action of smiling does many positive things that can help boost mood and morale," she adds.

"But, best of all, smiling is contagious, so not only do you feel happier, but you get to share some of that good-feeling around!"

Liverpool University's Professor of Clinical Psychology, and Headroom consultant, Peter Kinderman, agrees: "There is considerable scientific evidence that just the physical act of a smile can induce positive emotions in a smiler.

"But to really lift your mood you need to make sure that your smile is a real one. So rather than just deliberately grinning, try to bring to mind some things that really make you smile – talking to a loved one on the phone or watching Fawlty Towers – and make sure that your grin is genuine!"

Headroom's What Makes You Smile Campaign will start online with a series of animated films in which balloons come alive to discuss what it is that makes them smile – from people watching the rides at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, growing flowers or singing, each balloon has its own story to tell.

There will also be the opportunity for the public to submit their own reasons for smiling to the Headroom website, contributing to Headroom's interactive community of balloons.

In addition, the balloons will be making an appearance en masse at 11 key locations around the country from Tuesday 29 September. Find a balloon in Bradford, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Hull, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea, Swindon and Waltham Forest.

The campaign culminates in a series of events on World Mental Health Day at six Big Screen locations: Norwich, Hull, Swansea, Edinburgh, Portsmouth and Waltham Forest.

Each event will include activities such as Tai Chi and dancing, as well as a chance to play the unique interactive smile game created especially for the Big Screens. Local partners will also run a range of games, karaoke and fun activities for all the family.

To tell us What Makes You Smile, and find out what makes everyone else grin at


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