Smiling has social benefits, this is a well known fact. A smile can make you seem not only more attractive but also more likable, intelligent and even more trustworthy.
Think of people you know who have great smiles. This smiles are warm, cheerful and charming. Those smiles make you feel happy, hopeful, special. One smile can turn someone’s bad day around, can give them hope that things will be okay, can reassure them that you are a friend.
But did you know that smiling more often—regardless of your mood—improves not only the wellbeing of the people around you but also your own health while helping you live longer?
Well, let me introduce you to the facial feedback hypothesis – this hypothesis states that facial movement can influence your attitude and the emotional well being.
Research has shown that there are a number of health benefits attributed to smiling and laughing. These simple facial expressions can have a distinctive positive effect on all health factors, as well as all areas of your life. When you smile and laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, most of them without you being even conscious of them.
Benefits of smiling and laughing
When you smile, the movements of your facial muscles trigger the release of neurotransmitters called endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy, and they also help lowering stress levels. A study found that making yourself smile when you are feeling down helps improve mood and increases positive thoughts.
Having a bad day? Smile away!
Low blood pressure
Smiling and laughing more appear to help lower your blood pressure, which is good news for your heart health. A 2009 study explains that laughter causes an initial increase in heart rate, followed by a period of muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, which helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
A good laugh can help you release not only emotions but also stress. Smiling more often, regardless of how you are feeling, helps your body deal with stressful situations in a more effective way.
Everything looks so much better after a good laugh and life can be seen from a more positive perspective.
Have you noticed that everyone is drawn to people who smile a lot? People who smile are perceived as being more likable than people who don’t smile. Being likable makes it easier to build and maintain better relationships with people, which is important for your overall health and well-being.
Interaction with others is easier and more enjoyable when smiles and laughs are shared and these behaviors are contagious and will have a positive effect on everyone’s wellbeing.
Stronger immune function
To be healthy, you need a strong immune system. Believe it or not, laughter (which often begins with a smile) appears to help boost your body’s immune system. Mayo Clinic reports that laughter and positive thoughts release signaling molecules in your brain that fight stress and illnesses, while negative thoughts decrease your body’s immunity.
Deepak Chopra says: “Every time we have a though, we set off a cascade of cellular reactions in our nervous system that influences all the molecules in our body”
So, maybe laughter really is the best medicine after all!
Pain relief might be the last thing you’d think of when talking about smiling and laughter, but there are, indeed, links. Mayo Clinic reports that laughter causes your body to release its own natural painkillers.
Another study found that social laughter increases your pain threshold, creating a higher pain tolerance.
If you’re in pain due to an injury, illness or disease, watch a funny movie, reach out to people who make you smile.
Want to live longer? Carry on laughing!
Research is showing that the fountain of youth might be right under out nose. Happiness and laughter have been shown to lower levels of stress hormone cortisol in the body.
Smiling and laughter are beneficial for your mind, body and overall well-being. Even if you’re feeling blue, crack a smile and reap the numerous health benefits of smiling.
Weight loss – yes, you read it correctly!
Dieters may also be beneficiaries of the effect of laughter. Researchers have even gone to some lengths to calculate the energy expended in a laugh. Guess what? Genuine voice laughter causes a 10 to 20% increase in energy use and heart rate.
Mathematically thinking, laughing for 15 minutes could burn the calories of a small chocolate so… for laughing out loud, let’s take all our problems with a pinch of humor!
Laura Peischl, BA, INHC
Laura is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Holistic Menopause Health Specialist and Certified Hormone Health and Wellness practitioner. She is the founder and owner of Feel Good Menopause™️.