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5 Reasons to Put a Smile on Your Face Everyday

By Chris Brown

In 2011, health entrepreneur Ron Gutman became a moderate internet sensation with his TED Talk on the powerful health benefits of smiling. At the time, his talk gathered the latest in smiling research to compile an argument for the life changing effects of this simple act. Five of his research findings suggest how smiling more often can change your life and maybe even the world.

Lifespan can be predicted from a smile - In a study that Ron references, baseball players' smiles were analyzed on their official baseball card photos and compared to lifespans. The study found a correlation between a players' "beaming smile" levels and longevity. It discovered that players who didn't smile in their photo had an average lifespan of seven years shorter than their smiling teammates.

The facial feedback effect of smiling improves your mood - Much of the longevity effects of smiling may be attributable to its ability to reduce stress and improve mood. Stress is a major contributor to early death according to research. While we often think of smiling as the result of a good mood, research has found the cause-and-effect of smiling can work both ways. German researchers saw that brains on fMRI imaging reacted to an induced smile in the same way it reacted when producing a smile. This concept, called facial feedback, supports the idea that the act of smile is nearly as important as the external cause.

Stimulating effect of a smile - British researchers discovered that a single smile can produce the same neural stimulation as 2,000 bars of chocolate or receiving 16,000 British pounds in cash. These findings may change your strategy next time you are exhausted at work. Just don't blame the British researchers when you receive strange looks from your coworkers for your wide grin.

Smiling changes how others judge your trustworthiness - Studies in smiling have revealed that a smiling person subconsciously appears more competent and trustworthy. A Penn State University study found that these attributes were more commonly applied to photos of people displaying authentic smiles.

Smiling can change the world - One of the most miraculous attributes of a smile is that it is evolutionarily contagious, through something called the mimic effect. There is an understood evolutionary advantage to this. Our ability to mimic smiles helps us to evaluate other smiles. The University of Clermont-Ferrand in France found that subjects who were prevented from smiling were unable to guess the authenticity of a smile. Since smiling is correlated so closely to our evaluation of trustworthiness, our ability to determine whether a smile is authentic helps us gauge whether to trust another person. With its contagious nature, and its ability to subconsciously improve one's mood, a simple smile may just make the world a happier place.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Riverside, Calif.

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