Smile: Health and wellbeing benefits of smiling and being happy

8 surprising reasons you should smile more often

Smile – it’s good for you! There are many reasons why you should flash your pearly whites as often as possible.

Take a look at some of the health and wellbeing benefits of smiling.

It’ll make going for a jog easier

If you go for a run with a smile on your face – instead of a frown, you’ll breathe more easily, and exercising will seem to need less effort.

US researchers found smiling relaxes your body as you run, so you’re less tense and breathe easier.

You’ll feel happier

Smiling moves facial muscles and this sends signals to the brain to release mood-lifting chemicals, such as serotonin.

In fact, UK researchers say a smile can create the same feel good effect as eating 2000 bars of chocolate!

It will help strengthen your immune system

When you smile, and particularly when you have a laugh, it moves the diaphragm muscle in the abdomen. This movement helps push lymphatic fluid around the body – the fluid contains disease-fighting cells that boost immunity.

Your brain will be stimulated

Smiling stimulates the left and right sides of the brain and the frontal lobe – the area that helps you make decisions and think logically.

It’ll make you more attractive

When we see someone smile it activates part of our brain that makes us feel rewarded – so smiling lifts the mood of everyone around you.

Some studies suggest people perceive us to be younger when we put on a smile, too.

It burns kilojoules

Having a smile or a laugh burns kilojoules.

US researchers measured how many kilojoules people burned while watching comedy clips versus film footage of sheep in a field. They burned 20 per cent more kilojoules when laughing.

It’s a pain-reliever

Feel good chemicals released by the brain – endorphins – are natural painkillers.

It can help you live longer

A Wayne State University study found people who smile more may live around seven years longer than people who don’t smile as much.

So you now know why you should smile more often, but how do go about it? Take a look at Australian ‘happiness expert’ Dr Darren Morton’s expert tips on how to be more happy. You can also watch Dr Morton on House of Wellness TV discussing  how to live more happy.

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