Have you smiled recently? Smiling isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially after a long and exhausting day. But here’s a fun fact: numerous studies have shown that smiling is actually good for your health! Whether genuine or forced, the physical act of smiling can “trick” your mind and body into being less stressed, happier, and more relaxed.
When you smile, it triggers your brain to release the “happy chemicals” – endorphins, serotonin and dopamine – that actively and directly help to: reduce stress in the body, elevate and balance moods, block pain, aid and regulate bodily functions (including blood flow, breathing, digestion and healing), and create a general sense of well-being.
In addition to its internal physical and mental health benefits, smiling also has fantastic external effects. For example, smiling literally lifts your facial features and skin, making you look younger. People also tend to view smiling faces as more attractive, approachable, friendly and trustworthy. It’s no wonder that smiling can aid in both social and professional settings – shared smiles and laughter are great boons in building bonds and strengthening relationships.
And, cheesy as it may sound, sharing a smile can truly help spread positivity around you! If you’ve ever had a bad day turned around by a smile and a kind word, you know how wonderfully contagious a simple smile can be. Studies have also shown that people who smile and laugh more tend to live longer!
To recap: Smiling has profound internal and external positive effects, and provides the following physical and mental health benefits:
Reduces blood pressure
Lowers heart rate
Strengthens immune system
Boosts attractiveness and youthful appearance
Can spread positivity and better moods in self and others
Can help you live longer
Smiling is of course not a cure-all; rather, it provides a brief respite and relief that can go a long way to benefiting your overall health and well being. Indeed, studies suggest that forcing a smile through long-term stressors has a negative effect, and can actually make an individual feel more exhausted, stressed and unhappy. However, smiling during temporary moments of stress and discomfort can and does help lift us out of those moments in a much more positive and beneficial way.
So the next time you’re stuck in traffic, or gloomy weather has you feeling down, or if you’re nervous about an upcoming dentist’s appointment – try cracking a smile! It will help you relax and get through the moment with less physical and mental stress, and a greater sense of positivity and well being. A smile may seem like a simple, small thing – yet a smile can make all the difference in your day, and even your life!
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