February 12, 2015

The Benefits of Smiling

When we smile it means we are happy, likewise when we see someone else smile we know they are happy. It’s even better when it’s you that made the other person smile. But did you know that smiling can actually be good for you and has several benefits?

In an uplifting talk Ron Gutman, Founder of the HealthTap, shared some fascinating insights into the benefits of smiling that will….make you smile!

Live longer

In 2010 researchers at Wayne State University looked at pre-1950 baseball cards. They found that the span of a player’s smile could predict the span of his life. Players who didn’t smile in their picture lived on average 72.9 years while those players with big smiles lived on average of almost 80 years.

Feel better

Charles Darwin theorized that smiling itself makes us feel better, rather than the act of smiling being merely a result of feeling good. British researchers found that a single smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; which would be terrible for your teeth! The same study found that smiling is as stimulating as receiving £16,000 or €21,000 in cash

Makes you healthier

Unlike lots of chocolate bars smiling can make you healthier as well. Smiling helps reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones, like adrenaline and dopamine, and increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin and reduce blood pressure.

Makes you look better

A study at Penn State University discovered that when you smile not only do you appear more likeable and courteous but you also appear to be more competent. So smile and look good in the eyes of others.

Makes others smile

Yet another study, this time at Uppsala University found that it’s very difficult to frown when looking at someone who smiles. This is because smiling is evolutionarily contagious, and it suppresses the control we usually have on our own facial muscles. Consider this as well, more than a third of us smile more than 20 times a day, while less than 14 percent smile less than five times a day. Compared to this, children smile as often as 400 times a day.

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