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Turn That Frown Upside Down: 7 Benefits of Smiling

You’ve probably heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” Well, it turns out there’s plenty of truth behind that statement. If you took a walk to your local playground, you’d probably see children of all ages swinging, sliding, climbing the monkey bars and playing tag. And it’s a sure bet that nearly every child would have a smile on their face — laughing, yelling and screaming with joy. But for many adults, the older they get, the less often that joy seems to come around. Believe it or not, smiling is an important part of your health. Research shows that smiling and laughing do the body good — in more ways than one! happy

If you’re having trouble remembering the last time you genuinely laughed or smiled, call up a friend or pop in a comedy. Here are seven great reasons why you should:

  1. Smiling releases endorphins

    The movement of muscles in your face when you smile triggers the release of endorphins — feel-good chemicals that help lower stress levels and give you a natural mood boost. Laughing does the same!

  2. Happiness is linked to a lower risk of disease

    Studies show that positive psychological well-being is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, as well as lower blood pressure and healthy body weight. Smiling and laughing on a regular basis can actually alter your genes! Researchers found that people with a deep sense of happiness and well-being had lower levels of inflammatory gene expression and stronger antiviral and antibody responses.

  3. Smiling and laughing can boost your immune system

    Being happy, lively and calm can play an important role in immune function. Studies show that when happy people are exposed to cold and flu viruses, they’re less likely to get sick. Even when they do get sick, they exhibit fewer symptoms.

  4. Happiness can improve your stress response

    Studies show that people who are genuinely happy are less impacted by everyday stressors. They’re often able to deflect stress, which in turn can lead to many other health benefits.

  5. Being happy is good for your heart

    Smiling and laughing can also benefit your heart health. Researchers found that people who were happy and expressed high levels of gratitude exhibited a better mood, better sleep patterns, less fatigue and less inflammation than those with lower levels of gratitude. These factors often play a major role in health issues related to the heart.

  6. Smiling and laughing can increase creativity and memory

    Studies show that people who are happier and more positive have a more comprehensive approach to problems, including an improved ability to think of solutions, compared to their negative-minded counterparts. The connection comes from the release of dopamine, triggered by happiness. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in learning, processing and decision-making.

  7. Smiling and laughing are contagious

Smiling, laughing and having a positive attitude make you more attractive and approachable to others. When you feel happy, you feel more self-confident and ready to take on the world. The more you smile, the happier you become. And when people around you see you smile, the happier they’ll feel, too!