Have you ever wondered why children seem so carefree and joyful? Well, it could be because they smile as many as 400 times a day.
Whether you’re beaming brightly or flashing a sly smirk, smiling is good for your body and mind. Let’s review the various benefits of smiling.
But before you begin, we have a challenge: while you read, keep a smile on your face. Let’s see if, by the end of this article, you experience some of the benefits of smiling.
Ready, set, smile.
1. Smiling Improves Your Mood
Turning a frown upside down affects your mood. Smiling lifts your spirits and sparks joy. Even if you begin with a forced smile, it can turn into a real one thanks to your raised spirits.
How do the effects of smiling make you feel better?
When you flash a grin, it ignites a chemical reaction in the brain. Your body releases dopamine and serotonin, two hormones that reduce stress, depression, and aggression. The higher hormone levels lower anxiety while increasing happiness.
If you’re feeling down, smile more. You can flash your pearly whites to trick your brain into raising your spirits.
2. Smiling Relieves Pain
A little bit of laughter goes a long way. Throughout human history, a smile has always been a sign of joy. Now, scientists are discovering a smile can stimulate pleasure while decreasing discomfort.
Smiling releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins. The endorphins lower aches and pain throughout the body. Think of smiling as your body’s way of releasing its own supply of painkillers.
A study from the University of Irvine found that people who smiled while receiving shots from a doctor experienced 40 percent less pain compared to those who didn’t. The smilers also exhibited less stress and lower heart rates throughout the visit.
3. Smiling Reduces Stress
Just like running and meditation, smiling can trick your body into releasing relaxing chemicals that make you feel better.
Putting on a happy face when you’re feeling overwhelmed seems simple, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to lower stress. Smiling leads to reduced muscle tension and anxiety. It can be used as a way to control stress levels when you’re feeling defeated or tense.
A study consisting of 169 college students found those who smiled while completing tasks had lower stress levels. They had reduced heartbeats and felt calmer throughout the experiment compared to their counterparts.
The next time you’re sitting in traffic or managing a hefty workload, try holding a smile for 10 to 15 seconds. A grinning may allow you to think clearer, relax your body, and navigate through the stressful situation.
4. Smiling Has Health Benefits
It’s official: laughter is the best medicine.
If you’re looking for ways to maintain optimal health and prevent chronic diseases, the answer could be as simple as a smile. The health benefits of smiling include an improved immune system and a decrease in cardiovascular disease.
A Smile Boosts Immune Health
Smiling invokes feelings of happiness as it releases endorphins. An elevated mood creates positive physical changes in the immune system.
Laughter increases the number of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies in our bodies. The rise in healthy cell production creates a strong immune system and a healthier body.
A group of 350 adults described their emotions, including pleasure, happiness, and energy, for two weeks. They were then exposed to a cold virus. Those who reported higher positive emotions, such as frequently smiling, experienced less severe cold symptoms.
Smiling Lowers Blood Pressure
Managing your blood pressure reduces your risk of cardiovascular problems. When your heart can pump blood at a healthy rate, oxygen can easily reach all of your body’s organs.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is when a person’s blood pressure levels reach 140/90 mmHg or higher. High blood pressure causes arteries to thicken, which restricts blood and oxygen flow. Clogs form and lead to cardiovascular diseases, like a stroke or heart attack.
Laughter helps muscles relax, leading to lower heart rates and a decrease in blood pressure levels. Smiles also reduce stress, which is one of the leading causes of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
5. Smiling Makes You Look Younger
Smiling benefits how you feel as well as how you look. Flashing a grin is an easy way to trick people into thinking you’re younger than you are.
The logic is simple. Laughter decreases stress hormones. Less worry leads to fewer frown lines, wrinkles, and grey hairs.
A decrease in stress also improves sleep quality. The more sleep you get, the more rejuvenated and youthful your appearance.
Researchers asked participants to guess the ages of 171 people using photographs. Each picture featured a person with a different expression, including angry, happy, sad, neutral, and fearful.
Neutral facial expressions were accurately matched with their correct age. But those who were photographed smiling were believed to be two years younger.
6. Smiling Boosts Productivity
When you smile, your whole body feels the effects.
Laughter lightens your mood, promotes relaxation, and induces physical changes. It leads to endorphin production, muscle relaxation, and enhanced circulation as you breathe in oxygen-rich air.
That being said, sharing a laugh with your coworkers can boost office productivity. Researchers found that workers who watched a brief comedy clip were 10 percent more productive than their peers.
Finding reasons to smile throughout the workday helps your brain reduce stress. It enables you to keep a clear mind, stay focused, and avoid errors.
Don’t forget that people who laugh together grow together. Teams are more likely to be successful (as well as more creative) when they share a smile.
The Benefits of Smiling and More Health Tips
The scientific benefits of smiling are countless. From looking younger to boosting your immune health, there are plenty of reasons to keep grinning.
So, how did you do on that smile challenge? If you managed to maintain a smile throughout this article, chances are you’re feeling happier and less stressed than when you first started reading.
Are you looking for more wellness tips and tricks? Explore our website for helpful articles that can guide you through enhancing your health.