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Why Smile? 5 Health Benefits of Smiling

Smiling is something that most of us do several times throughout the day without even thinking. Often a smile comes when we greet someone, we hear a joke, or we are just plain happy. It is a great way to show others that you are having a good time and enjoying your day.

Think about this though… What if smiling actually had a huge impact on your overall health? If it did, would it help to increase the amount of time you spend smiling every day? Well the truth is that smiling does much more than make you feel and look great. Smiling can directly affect your overall health. Believe it or not, there are 5 great benefits to your health that can be received by simply smiling throughout the day.

Just remember, as you look through this list, that a smile is free and actually takes less facial muscles than the standard frown!

1. Reduces Stress

One of the top benefits of smiling is that it is known to help reduce your stress level.

Studies suggest that people who smile less are able to relax more and actually decrease their heart rate. These studies also show that those who smile more often while going through stressful situations are able to reduce their stress better than those people who do not smile as much. Even those who seem to put on a forced smile can see a reduction in their stress level, but a genuine smile is still the best cure for stress.

Over the course of your lifetime; the reduction in stress due to smiling can also help to reduce your risk of various heart diseases, such as strokes and heart attacks.

2. Fights Depression

young-woman-looking-depressed-with-headache

Not only can a smile help reduce stress, but it can also help fight depression.

It is believed that even those who display a forced smile or those who are reminded to smile often can see a significant boost in their overall mood. Best of all, smiling will not only boost your own personal mood, but it can also improve the mood of those around you. Just one person smiling in the group can eventually cause the entire group to smile. This is because smiling is somewhat contagious, and just the act of seeing someone else smile can potentially cause you to smile as well.

3. Boosts Immune System

Smiling is believed to help boost your immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells your body produces.

A study performed by the Smiling Hospital Research Team evaluated children’s white blood cell levels while in the hospital. Tests were performed both before and after various groups came into the hospital to make the children laugh and smile. The study concluded that the children’s white blood cell levels increased after they had these types of special visits.

4. Alleviates Pain

The act of smiling is also believed to increase the production of endorphins in your body. Endorphins are natural chemicals in the body that are known to lessen pain and are referred to as natural painkillers.

This is often why doctors will try to joke around with their patients who have been injured. It is their attempt to both reduce the patients stress level and alleviate the pain from the injury.

5. Increases Lifespan

Yes, smiling is even thought to help you live a longer life.

Smiling increases your lifespan!A study done by Wayne University in Indiana, evaluated 230 major league baseball players. They grouped the players together based on their smiles on their promotional baseball cards. They then took a closer look at another 184 players that had already passed away. According to this study, the players with the largest and most genuine smiles lived an average of seven years longer than those players that displayed no smile at all. This study would suggest that those people who smile more often are likely to have a longer and healthy life than those who do not smile often.

Time to Start Smiling
It is hard to believe that such a simple act as smiling can have such great health benefits. Unfortunately, there are some people who have anxiety about smiling. This may be because they have chipped, discolored, or crooked teeth. The good news is that today there are many different dental treatments available from the dentist that can return your teeth to their original state or even better than before. These treatments can help to give you back your smile!

If just one of the dental treatments helps to alleviate your anxiety about smiling and allow you to have the widest smile possible, then it would be well worth it, and improve your overall health.