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5 ways smiling makes you healthier
It’s no secret that a simple smile from someone you love can make you feel better.
But, did you know that putting a smile on your face, even if you have to fake it can decrease your stress, fight depression, ease your pain, lower your blood pressure and even help you live longer?
Your smile may just be the most powerful tool you have to make you healthier and happier.
You see, smiling actually has a direct impact on the chemicals your body releases.
From those all-important neuropeptides that can change the function of your brain to the positive impact smiling has on your cells themselves, flashing your grin can add years to your life.
#1 – Lowers stress
Your smile activates the release of chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Dopamine, serotonin and endorphins are all triggered the second you smile. These lower your stress levels and help you cope even in tense situations.
In fact, studies show that it doesn’t matter whether or not your smile is real or forced. As long as you smile, your stress level goes down. The next time you feel stressed, don’t reach for that anti-anxiety medication… try smiling instead.
#2 – Makes you happier
That serotonin boost you get when you smile doesn’t just help you cope with stress either. It also fights depression, making you feel happier.
And, it does it far more safely than taking those prescription anti-depressants that artificially boost the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. So, smile more and say goodbye to the blues.
#3 – Blocks pain
The endorphins triggered by your smile are the same ones that give you that runners’ high, allowing you to keep going even when your body is crying, “Stop!”
That’s because they block pain signals, making them a natural analgesic, no side effects and no pills to pop. So, flash that smile and feel better overall.
#4 – Lowers heart rate and blood pressure
The same neurochemicals that decrease your stress and anxiety also work to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. According to a University of Kansas study, even a fake grin had a positive impact. So, try smiling more for your heart’s sake.
#5 – Boosts your immune system
Smiling even strengthens your immune system. In fact, every time you grin, your body produces more white blood cells, the scavengers that fight off germs and disease. This means that smiling can truly hold the key to staying healthy, longer.
Now, for it to work, the trick is to fake a real smile – even when you don’t feel like it. To do that, you’ve got to use some tricks that fool your brain. Get instructions, here, on faking it like you mean it.
You probably never thought that your smile was so powerful. But, when you look at all your smile can do, from reducing your stress, depression, and pain to lowering your heart rate and blood pressure and strengthening your immune system, it’s easy to see why taking the time to smile could just add years to your life.
Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. — Psychological Science
Karren KJ, et al. Mind/Body Health: The Effect of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. — New York, N.Y.: Benjamin Cummings, 2010:461.
Social laughter is correlated with an elevated pain threshold — Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Even a fake grin may help lower heart rate in stressful situations — CBS News
“Does happiness help healing?” Immune response of hospitalized children may change during visits of the Smiling Hospital Foundation’s Artists — Orvosi Hetilap