You smile and laugh regularly throughout your day, but you probably don’t think about how it affects your body when you do it. However, both smiling and laughing have been known to have extraordinary effects on both a person’s mental and physical health. It seems that the more we smile and laugh, the better we feel. It’s more than just an old wives tale, too. There’s actual science behind it! Here are some ways smiling and laughing can help you as well as ways to help you smile more every day.
Benefits of Smiling and Laughing
If you’re looking for a small way to contribute to your health throughout the day, you may be surprised to find that smiling and laughing can add to your health goals. We all want to be happy and smiling, and laughing has unique effects on the body that can make you feel your best. Here are 10 benefits of smiling and laughing (and the scene behind it).
1. Relieve Stress
People seem more stressed out today than ever before. There’s a lot of good reason for this, too. We have more stimuli coming at us every day than ever before with the internet and smartphones. We also have unique financial and social pressures compared to previous generations. The stress we face can negatively affect our health.
Stress is connected to several physical and mental health conditions, including:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
The simple act of smiling can actually help you relieve stress. Studies have found that when people laugh, they release more of the stress hormone cortisol. This hormone is released when people feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. When people smile and laugh, there is less of this hormone found in the body.
Another way smiling and laughing can limit your stress is by giving you a distraction. The things that are making you smile may contribute to taking your mind off of your stressors.
Other simple ways to reduce stress include taking a timeout for yourself to meditate or practice yoga, joining a book club, talking to a therapist, or taking medication. Of course, it starts with a smile.
2. Smiling Releases Endorphins
When you smile, you are using specific muscles to do it. Your brain controls muscle movement, so it can recognize when you use those particular muscles. When your brain recognizes that you are smiling, it will produce the neurotransmitters endorphins.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals released by your brain. They are known to affect your mood, both negatively and positively. A release of endorphins is known to make people happier. That’s why people may suggest that you smile if you are feeling down. The endorphins released when you smile can help make you feel better.
The theory that your facial impression can affect your mood is called “facial feedback hypothesis” and was first suggested by Charles Darwin.
Endorphins help put you in a better mood, but it can also help reduce mild pain. Many people with chronic pain try to smile as much as possible to help find relief. This can help people stay off of dangerous painkillers that can become addictive. Smiling and laughing will only help mild pain. It will not be sufficient enough for moderate or severe pain.
3. Laughing is Good for Lungs
We all need oxygen for our respiratory system to work correctly. Oxygen also helps each cell develop properly, boosts our immune system, and helps our circulatory system. To ensure that these essential systems in our body are active, we need to ensure that we are getting enough oxygen. To get this oxygen, we need to take deep breaths. A deep, bellowing laugh can actually help your lungs work better by allowing you to take in more oxygen. It needs to be a deep laugh to give you the results you want.
We typically only replace the oxygen in our lungs with 25% of fresh oxygen when we breathe normally. Deep breaths help release the old air in our lungs and completely replace it with fresh air. Since laughing can help you breathe better, you may find some advantages when working out and sleeping.
4. Lose weight
Most of us could stand to lose a couple of pounds. If you find yourself in that category, you may benefit from a good laughing session.
Have you ever laughed so hard that your sides hurt? That’s because laughing uses your muscles. It takes effort to laugh sometimes, and that increases the heart rate. That means that when you laugh, you are burning calories. When you’re done laughing, you will also have a lower standing heart rate.
Before you start replacing going to the gym with laughing, it’s important to emphasize that laughing will only help you burn a couple of calories throughout the day. You still need to eat healthily and exercise to maintain a good weight.
5. Focus Better
If you have a lot of items on your to-do list, you may have trouble focusing. The workload and emotional pressure can actually make you feel attacked. This will force you to go into “fight or flight” mode. In this mindset, you may flight and avoid getting things done from the stress.
You may not be able to handle your to-do list effectively while in fight mode, either. Smiling can help you focus more by relaxing you and allowing you to think clearly. When you think clearly, you’ll be able to get more done.
6. Look Younger
Society associates youth with beauty. While both men and women are beautiful at every age, you probably still wouldn’t mind looking a bit younger. Smiling can make you appear about 3 years younger. Smiling and laughing makes you appear carefree, like someone who is just starting out in life. Keep smiling, and it will work better than the anti-ageing cream you use every morning.
7. Boosts Immune System
Your immune system is designed to fight harmful bacteria and keep you healthy. Unfortunately, your immune system can become diminished when you are especially stressed. Smiling and laughing relaxes you and keeps your immune system active and powerful.
You still need to get vaccinations, stay clean, and eat plenty of antibiotics. However, if smiling helps, you may as well try to smile more, too.
8. Make Others Happier
Smiling and laughing isn’t only good for you. It can also be quite beneficial to the people around you. A good attitude tends to be contagious. When you enter the room with a big, happy expression and a bellowing laugh, people are going to start smiling and laughing as well immediately. Being the person can cause this reaction can be quite satisfying. It’s also fun to watch it travel throughout the entire room.
9. Laughing Makes You Live Longer
Death is inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t push it back as much as possible. Studies show that people who smile and laugh a lot tend to live longer. In fact, people who smile and laugh will often live seven years longer on average. This is due to the reduces stress and other benefits on the body.
10. It Makes You More Attractive and Approachable
Marilyn Monroe once said, “A smile is the best makeup any girl can wear.” We all want to be more attractive. We also want to have better social interactions. Smiling and laughing can help with both of those things. Smiling makes people look their best. That’s why most people are encouraged to smile in pictures. There’s something about a smile that brings out a particular glow in people.
When you smile, you also make yourself more approachable to those around you. When you smile, you look like someone who will be friendly and positive if someone else tries to talk to you. This will help you make friends, talk to clients, and get dates. If two salespeople are selling the same product but one smiles and one doesn’t, the one who smiles is going to get the opportunity to speak to more potential customers due to their welcoming disposition. Don’t let not smiling allow you to miss out on social and professional opportunities.
How to Smile and Laugh More
So, we know that there are plenty of reasons to smile. However, that can be easier said than done for some people. Here are some simple ways to help encourage you to smile and laugh and be your healthiest self.
Scientists have actually determined that there are multiple types of smiles. A Duchenne smile involves a crease in the eyes while the Pan American smile doesn’t have the same crease in the eye. The Duchenne smile is the more authentic smile, while the Pan American smile is more superficial. The first smile will produce the best results for your body and your mood. However, you can’t necessarily control how you are smiling at first.
Practice Your Smile
Practice an attractive and sincere smile in the mirror when you have time. Just like an actor practices expressions in movies. Remember that it should look believable.
Watch and Listen to Things that Make You Laugh
If you want to smile and laugh more, put on some comedy movies or songs. Whether you’re driving to work or out on the weekend, play things that make you happy. It’s important to remember that you may not have the same style as other people. Play whatever specifically makes you smile, even if others might find it a bit obscure. You may even connect with people who share similar taste this way.
You can also talk to people who make you laugh. If you haven’t spoken to your silly cousin or that crazy old roommate in a while, give them a call when you get a chance. Be sure to have some of your best stories ready to provide them with plenty of material.
Fake It Until You Make It
We can’t all have sincere smiles all the time. Many of us suffer from depression or may be going through a tough time. Others of us may just have what is scientifically known as “resting bitch face” and weren’t born with a natural smile.
If you have difficulty smiling as often as you would like, start forcing yourself to do it when appropriate. Hopefully, with time, it will begin to become more natural for you. When it does, you’ll be able to experience all of the benefits mentioned in this article.
Improve Your Smile
Some people don’t smile to avoid showing off less than perfect teeth. To prevent this problem, perform regular dental hygiene. Brush 2 – 3 times a day and floss after every meal. You should also go to the dentist every 6 months. If you do have dental issues, get them fixed before they turn into even bigger problems. Dental hygiene can give you the confidence to go about your day smiling instead of keeping your mouth shut.
Smiling and laughing is simply a great way to live life. It’s also a great way to stay physically and mentally healthy. It reduces stress, releases endorphins, helps control weight, and it makes you look young and attractive to other people. It can get other people more positive, too.
There are so many reasons not to smile sometimes, though, so you may struggle with smiling as often as you should. You can work on smiling by practising your smile, forcing yourself to smile until it becomes natural, and keeping your teeth clean and healthy, so you feel comfortable sharing your smile.
Smiling and laughing is one of the most natural things you can do throughout your day to help you stay in a positive mood, so start smiling and laughing freely.