Did you know that the simple act of smiling has some powerful health benefits? Numerous studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. These three neurotransmitters make us feel happier and less stressed. The effect on our mood and health is similar to exercise and good sleep — it simply makes you feel better. In one study, even ‘faking’ a smile reduced stress levels in some people! Another study shows that smiling can help reduce pain.
Here are some other things about smiling that you may not know:
It’s contagious. Studies have shown that people tend to emulate the facial expressions of those around them. A boss who smiles, for example, may have employees who smile more. It’s a great chain reaction.
It can make you more approachable. Scientists have discovered that people who smile are more approachable to their family and co-workers. One study found that people who smile a lot are viewed as more likable. Another great reason to turn that frown upside down!
It can lower your blood pressure. Research shows that smiling and laughter prompt an immediate increase in your heart rate and oxygen consumption, followed by a period of muscle relaxation, decreased heart rate and lower blood pressure. Researchers are exploring other ways smiling and laughter can boost your body’s vital functions.
It can give your immune system a boost. A group of studies shows that smiling and laughing can boost your immune system.
Men smile less. Most studies on the subject have found that men smile less than women, although there is little agreement as to why.
Not a person who smiles easily? Try watching funny TV shows and movies. Be on the lookout for funny things. If you love cats, try googling ‘funny cat memes’. Spend more time with happy, fun-loving and optimistic people.