5 Ways Smiling Makes You Healthier
You probably already knew that smiling is contagious. (Seriously, it comes down to facial mimicry.) But, did you know that smiling also makes you healthier? The way a smile effects the brain, and consequently, the body has an interesting impact on your health. So, not only does showing those pearly whites make you more attractive, but it comes with some serious health benefits as well.
Here are five ways that smiling makes you healthier:
1. Smiling decreases chances of high blood pressure.
Smiling is good for heart health! When you smile, endorphins are released into the body. When endorphins increase, blood pressure typically lowers. In fact, laughter – which starts with a smile – initiates an increase in heart rate, but is followed by a period of muscle relaxation, as well as decreased heart rate and blood pressure. Because high blood pressure is linked to heart disease, smiling can also decrease your chances of heart disease. Are you smiling yet?
2. Smiling boosts your immune system.
Could laughter really be the best medicine? Mayo Clinic reported that smiling and positive thoughts release neuropeptides that help fight stress and illnesses. Studies have found that people who smile more often have higher counts of white blood cells, which help fight off sicknesses. You may need a little more than a smile the next time you’re sick, but keeping a smile on your face may speed up the recovery!
3. Smiling exercises your face.
Smiling takes some work! In fact, it takes about 26 muscles to smile, which is a great workout for your face. (And, that probably explains why your face hurts after smiling a lot.) The next time you’re working out, throw on a smile! You’ll get double the benefits because you’ll be working out your face and your body!
4. Smiling lowers stress levels.
Stress can have some major effects on the body. When you’re sad or stressed, your brain sends neurotransmitters to communicate those feelings to the rest of your body. So, when you’re down and your whole body just feels depressed, you know why! But, when you smile, a different kind of neurotransmitter is released to communicate the happy feelings. Endorphins, dopamine and serotonin are released when you smile, which lower your stress level. Plus, cortisol, a stress hormone, is reduced when you smile. So, if you want to feel less stressed, smile more often!
5. Smiling can boost your mood.
It’s mind over matter, and how we feel completely affects our health. (After all, we’ve just talked about how prolonged depression or stress can be harmful to the body.) A smile can boost your mood, even if it’s fake. That’s because all those happy hormones are released as an effect of your smile. So, if you’re feeling down, slap a smile on your face and go with it. You’ll soon feel better!
There are numerous benefits to smiling, but just the health benefits alone are enough to make you want to smile all day long. And those little health perks all come down to the hormones your brain releases during a smile. They can trick your body into feeling happier or more positive, and reduce the bad hormones that make us tense and stressed – and that can have ugly, long-term effects.
Could a smile a day keep the doctor away? Probably not. But smiling may help keep the stress away!