How Does Smiling Affect Your Health?
If you type “smiling makes you…” into your search engine the results immediately give insight into why a simple smile is so contagious. The search results for the benefits of smiling includes “smiling makes you live longer”, “smiling makes you look younger,” and even, “smiling makes you more attractive!” But there is one health benefit at the root of a smile, making people live longer and look younger and that is happiness.
Happiness is a common goal that almost every human strives for every day. We seek it through our careers, finances, family life and hobbies, but there are many conflicting arguments about what true happiness really is and how we can best achieve it.
Not only does smiling release serotonin, the neurotransmitter connected to happiness, to create positive feedback and emotions, but studies
show that positive emotions can lower a stress-induced heart rate increase (whether it’s authentic or not!) This means that by reducing your stress-symptoms with a smile, you’re also reducing the negative health effects that go along with stress, like high blood pressure, headaches, fatigue and a decreased immune system response.
So, the next time you’re in a stressful situation, put on a big smile! It doesn’t matter if you need to look at a funny video or photo, or force a smile that engages the muscles around your eyes and mouth – both will be effective in inducing feelings of happiness and help your health in the long run.
You can also use this knowledge to help others who may be feeling stressed or unhappy. Even seeing someone else smile can uplift our mood, but smiles are contagious, and someone else is likely to mirror your happiness with a smile in return!