Is Smiling Good for You?
By Kate Gardner
Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and realized you barely smiled once? I have. Whether my day has been particularly stressful or I am simply preoccupied, I know there are times when I'm likely to forgo a smile. It just feels like too much work.
I'm far from alone. According to The Journal, children smile 380 times per day, but as adults, we only manage to smile about 20 times per day. Maybe we smile less as adults because of the pressures and responsibilities we face each day. Maybe we have less reason to smile. Maybe we are too busy. Whatever the reason, The Best Brain Possible with Debbie Hampton tells us there are a number of health benefits associated with smiling that might motivate you to work in an extra smile or two!
Humans can smile from the day they are born and doing so is a very social behavior that provides us with social benefits. For starters, smiling makes others regard us in more positive ways. When we smile, people may see us as more attractive, more reliable, and more successful. Smiling is also considered contagious. If someone smiles at you, you are likely to smile back. Smiling at one another creates a connection, however fleeting, to another human being. To be clear, you never owe anyone a smile. But if it works for you, smiling may give you a social boost!
Physical and Mental Health Benefits
The act of smiling has been connected to a number of different physical and mental health benefits. Smiling affects your brain by triggering the release of various neuropeptides and feel-good neurotransmitters. This, in turn, helps you feel more relaxed, less stressed, and more positive. Smiling can also help your immune system function properly, possibly because it helps relax your body. As well, smiling has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Some studies even suggest that people who smile more may live longer!
The next time you find yourself struggling in the middle of a day that hasn't given you much to smile about, stop for a second and see if you can muster one up. Some research suggests that even if it's a fake smile, you can reap the benefits of smiling. Maybe it won't turn your whole day around, but you can feel good knowing you did something for your body and mind.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tempe, Ariz.