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  • 1/29/2014

Health Benefits of Smiling and Laughing that You Didn’t Know about

health benefits of smiling and laughing

Smiling and laughing can have a positive effect on your well-being, but as you make the transition from child to adult, you often tend to lose the habit of indulging in these behaviors. A good example of this is a children’s playground: You often see the kids running around, constantly laughing and smiling as they enjoy living in the moment, while the parents sit around the edge, full of the stresses that modern life can bring, with the occasional grin breaking their otherwise serious facial expressions. Adults can benefit from taking a lead from children and making more room in life for smiling and laughter.

Research has shown that there a number of health benefits contributed to smiling and laughing. In addition to improved health, these simple facial expressions and common human behaviors can have a distinctive positive affect on other factors all areas of your life. When you smile and laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, mostly without you being consciously aware of it happening.

Health Benefits of Smiling and laughing

Lower Heart Rate. Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body. This lets the heart work without overworking. People who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease.

Reduce Stress. Stress is a common problem in the modern world that causes a myriad of health problems. Stress relief may be as simple as smiling a little more throughout the day. Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and diminish the stress hormones.

Boost the immune system. Laughing improves the body’s natural defense mechanism by increasing the amount of immunoglobulin’s and T cell’s in the body.

Fight a cold with a grin. Cut down on those sick days by plastering a big, cheesy grin on your face. Every time you flash your teeth, your body produces greater quantities of antibodies and T-cells (or white blood cells), which may give your immune system a huge power boost.

Better Mood. The endorphins do more than kick stress to the curb. Endorphins lift your mood. Feeling down? Slap a smile on your face, even if it isn’t entirely genuine at first, and turn your entire day around with something simple, easy to do, and free.

Reduce blood pressure. When you laugh, the blood flow increases, circulation improves and your blood pressure rises.  When you stop laughing, your blood pressure drops back to its baseline. This relaxing effect helps to lower your baseline blood pressure.

Is a natural painkiller? There are a number of studies which validate the pain relieving effects of laughter.  Studies show that watching comedy films assists both children and adults to tolerate pain more easily.

Massage the abdominal organs. Belly laughing effectively ‘massages’ the abdominal organs.  The blood flow to these organs is increased and their functioning is improved

Help keep diabetes under control. A recent study showed that people who watched a funny video after meal had lower blood sugar levels than those who watched a serious film. It could be that laughter affects the neuroendocrine system, which monitors the body´s glucose levels, or it may be the effect of energy used by the stomach muscles.

Increase Productivity. Smiling has been shown to increase productivity while performing tasks.

Encourage Trust. Studies show that we are more trustful of others when they smile and smile genuinely.  Trust is an important part of social health when dealing with people, whether they be loved ones or just acquaintances. Seems relationships are truly built on smiles.

Bond us to others. Laughter causes the release of oxytocin.  Often called the empathy hormone, oxytocin helps bond individuals and groups together.  A little laughter is great for building great teams, be they in the community or at work.

Increase Attention. Stress limits our perceptions and narrows our attention. Our body kicks into fight or flight mode where we can focus only on one of those things. Smiling counteracts this and widens our attention again, opening us back up to multitasking and insights that come from the fringes of our perception and our subconscious.

Contagious. Around 50% of people smile back. This spreads the health benefits throughout those around you and it comes back to you several times as well.

Earn Success. A smile can appear confident, self-assured, and on top of your work. Those who smile are more likely to earn more money and get promoted. They are more readily approached with business ideas and offered advancements.

Re-energize the mind and body. Laughing forces air out of lungs, and causes us to take deep inward breaths, increasing the flow of oxygen right around the body.

Build resilience. The ability to laugh, or at least smile, when times get tough, is the best way to reduce stress and anxiety.  While a little stress actually helps to motivate us into action and to focus on the problem, laughter helps us to focus on the solution and achieve more productive outcomes.

Aid with sleep. Having a good laugh prior to sleep reduces stress and anxiety, promoting deep, restful sleep. Laughter also provides a mild aerobic workout, which, not only energizes you in the short term, but also helps you to sleep better.

Look Younger. Smiles naturally lift the face and in studies have shown to make people look younger, around 3 years younger on average.

Longevity. The effects of a good smile extend past just the exterior good looks. People who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer than most according to one study. It releases stress, helps the heart, and much more to keep you healthy longer.


Sources:

lifehack.org

sunwarrior.com

letslaugh.com.au

completelyyou.com


Other links:

9 Things You Can Do to Be Happy in the Next 30 Minutes

Feeling happy? Spread it around

Tips for Happiness in Daily Life

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