As the song goes: “when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” Okay, that’s not strictly true, but you get the idea, right? A smile can really brighten even the darkest of days, yet sadly, many of us don’t seem to be doing it enough. Would you rather be around people that are constantly frowning, angry, and negative, or would you rather be around smiley, happy people instead? Of course, you’d rather be around positive people, which is why smiling has a wide variety of social benefits associated with it. A smile can make you appear more approachable than a frown. Smiling makes you seem more trustworthy and generally paints you in a bright and positive light. However, the benefits don’t stop there. You see, there are actually a wide variety of health benefits associated with smiling, which not only improve your quality of life, they can actually prolong your life in the process. Here’s a look at three key health benefits of smiling, as proven by science.
Smiling helps calm you down
Life can be pretty stressful at times, and if we’re not careful, this stress can actually cause lasting damage. We all experience stress from time to time, but too much stress can potentially lead to very serious health conditions, including hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart attacks. Did you know, however, that something as basic as smiling is one of the most effective stress-relieving methods currently in existence? Smiling has been found to reduce your heart rate, which is very important considering the fact that stress elevates your heart rate substantially.
Smiling improves your mood
When you’re feeling down in the dumps, try to smile more, or find something that makes you smile. The reason for this is that smiling can actually improve your mood and make you feel happier. You see, when we smile, the brain and body secrete hormones such as dopamine, melatonin, and serotonin, which are commonly referred to as “happy chemicals.” These hormones help to make you feel happy, they relax you, they comfort you, and they put you in a fantastic mood. So, whenever you feel sad, try smiling, even if it is forced, and you’ll be amazed by what a difference it can make.
Smiling boosts the immune system
It’s a proven fact that the happier you are, generally speaking, the healthier you are likely to be as well. Again, this is thanks to a simple smile. Smiling and positive thoughts, in general, stimulate the release of stress-relieving molecules and hormones in the brain, which attacks stress hormones including cortisol, which has been proven to weaken the immune system. The immune system provides protection against illness and disease, so a weak immune system leaves you susceptible to all kinds of ailments – some serious. As cortisol and other stress hormones weaken the immune system, it’s vital we keep them at bay. By stimulating the release of these chemicals and neurotransmitters in the brain that fight immune-weakening hormones, our immune systems become stronger, and work more efficiently, meaning we become healthier in general.