The benefits of smiling

The benefits of smiling

“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do”

This famous quote from Mother Teresa is so true.  Not only can a smile brighten someone else’s day, but you’ll be amazed at the benefits of smiling for your own self.

Right now most people globally are going through an unusual and isolating period as most countries worldwide impose a lockdown on their citizens to slow down and prevent the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19.

It can be easy to get swept into feelings of loneliness, boredom, isolation, depressing thoughts and to dwell on the negative, especially with death tolls, doom and gloom being the main headlines each day.  But what would be better is to remain positive and smile.  Not only to cheer other people up and bring some brightness to their day, but for the sake of your own mental health too.

Whilst smiling is often a reaction to things that make us laugh or feel good, it can also be a conscious action we choose to do too.

Read on to discover some of the many benefits of smiling and how it really can help you through a tough period in your life.

What are the health benefits of smiling?

What are the health benefits of smiling

Smiling can make you feel happier

Probably the most obvious benefit is that smiling can make you feel happier.  138 studies testing more than 11000 participants were evaluated by a team of psychologists and they concluded smiling really can make people feel happier.  They found the facial expressions we use actually has a small impact on our feelings.

Smiling can reduce stress

Smiling can reduce stress levels and the time it takes for the body to recover from a stressful situation.  The study ‘Grin and Bear It: The Influence of Manipulated Facial Expression on the Stress Response’ found there are “physiological and psychological benefits from maintaining positive facial expressions during stress.”

Smiling can relieve anxiety

It’s not difficult to become consumed with fears and anxieties when going through a crisis or tough period of your life, but smiling really can help to make you feel a little better.  Some therapists even recommend patients smile through cancer as it can have such a powerful effect on banishing worries and reducing panic.  Even a forced smile can trick your brain into thinking you’ve seen something humorous and encourage it to release some feel good hormones which help you relax.  The brain doesn’t know the difference between a fake smile and a real smile!

Smiling can lower your blood pressure

It sounds surprising, but it’s not really when you think everything is connected.  Smiling can lower your blood pressure.  If smiling makes you feel happier and less stressed then this not only relaxes your body, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

Smiling really is a powerful tool and something so simple that we can all do easily to improve our mental wellbeing and in turn our physical health too.

So turn that frown upside down and make sure you smile more, each and every day!

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What are the health benefits of smiling

Bibliography

University of Tennessee at Knoxville. “Psychologists find smiling really can make people happier.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190412094728.htm

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797612445312

https://www.curetoday.com/community/dana-stewart/2018/07/a-smile-a-day-keeps-the-cancer-fears-away