They believe frowning uses more muscles than smiling, and though there’s no concrete proof to back this up, we do know that smiling has certain real-world benefits. It’s not always easy, especially after you’ve had a long and stressful day. However, if you can force yourself to smile, you will feel much better. Keep reading on for the real health benefits of smiling and laughing.
The Real Health Benefits of Smiling and Laughing
Releases the Endorphins
To assist fight stress, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides when you smile. Other neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, also play a role. Endorphins act as a minor pain reliever, whereas serotonin acts as an antidepressant.
According to one study, smiling can help us recover from stress faster and lower our heart rate. In fact, it might be worth your time to put on a phony smile and watch what happens. There’s some evidence that forcing a grin can actually improve your mood and happiness level. That said, if you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, you should speak with your doctor right away to determine the best therapy option for you.
Creates a Ripple Effect
It turns out that the benefits of smiling aren’t only for you; they can also benefit those around you. We’ve already discussed how our brains react when we smile, but when we see someone else smile, we’re rewarded as well! Our brain’s reward center gets triggered, making us feel a little better. Plus, according to one Swedish study, we can’t help but grin back when we see someone else grin, creating an all-out infectious happy loop.
Helps You Live Longer
One of the most compelling reasons to smile is that it may help you live longer. According to a 2010 study, sincere, strong smiling is linked to a longer lifespan. Overall, happy people appear to live longer and have better health, though more research is needed to figure out why. Happiness has been shown to extend life by years, implying that keeping a pleasant, good mood is a vital aspect of living a healthy lifestyle.
Try putting on a smile the next time you’re feeling gloomy. There’s a strong probability your disposition will improve. The physical act of smiling engages brain pathways that influence your emotional state, implying that you can “trick” your mind into feeling joyful by adopting a joyful facial expression. This is true whether your smile is genuine or not.
A simple smile can release neuropeptides that increase brain connectivity and neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which can improve your mood. Consider smiling as an all-natural antidepressant.
Boosts the Immune System
Smiling can also help your immune system work more effectively, which can improve your general health. Immune function is supposed to enhance when you smile because you are calmer (thanks to the release of certain neurotransmitters). Smiling can help you maintain your overall health or enhance your immune system in preparation for cold and flu season.
May Lower Blood Pressure
Smiling has been shown to lower blood pressure. After creating an initial increase in heart rate and respiration, laughter appears to drop blood pressure. While smiling has been demonstrated to lower your heart rate when you’re stressed, more research is needed to figure out how it lowers blood pressure.
If you have a blood pressure monitor at home, you may put this theory to the test. Take a reading after you’ve sat for a few minutes. After that, smile for a minute and repeat the process while still smiling. Do you think you’ve noticed a difference?
Happy in the Face, Boss in the Workplace
Aside from the psychological benefits, smiling and being happy can have a negative impact on your work performance. According to a research conducted by a group of economists, “human happiness has large and positive causal impact on productivity.” Humans appear to be energized by positive emotions, but negative emotions appear to have the opposite impact.”
Another study related the release of dopamine triggered by happiness to decision-making, processing, and learning, implying that smiling can make you a more creative and efficient worker.
So the next time you need a pick-me-up, try flashing a toothy grin; it might just do the trick. If you’re already in a good mood, why not show off your pearly whites to a stranger and spread the joy?