Top 5 Reasons to Smile

Did you know that when you smile, you look younger? Did you know that your smile can make or break a business or job prospect? Did you know that smiles are actually healthy? If you’re like me, you smile a lot just because you feel like it. But research has been done in the past couple of years that shows how smiling affects many things. Let’s talk about my top 5 reasons to smile.

Smiling Gives You a More Youthful Appearance

This top 5 reason will appeal to almost everyone reading this article. We all want to turn back the clock, especially if we are reasonably healthy and really don’t act our true chronological ages. A study was published in Psychology and Aging in 2011 that was the first study of its kind and it revealed that facial languages have a major influence on the truthfulness and preconception of age estimates. They found that even though age estimates can be based upon many indicators, they found many situations in life in which the picture of a person’s face is the only indicator that many people have to use. Consider Flickr, LinkedIn and Facebook to name only a few social networking sites that frequently use photos only without any profile or background information.

The study referenced above used 154 people from various age groups from young to senior citizens to evaluate over 2,000 photos of people from various age groups, ranging from young people to senior citizens. The photos showed people with various facial expressions; i.e. angry, fearful, disgusted, happy, sad and neutral. The results were quite interesting. Of all of the different facial expressions evaluated, the neutral ones were the most often the most accurate estimates of age, while the smiling faces were underestimated by an average of two years. It seems that the age estimates were more accurate when the groups were judging people’s photos in their same age group. It was also found that the older the people in the photos were, the more difficult it was to accurately estimate their ages.

When You Smile, You Will Make Others Smile

Do you believe this top 5 reason to smile? If not, then let me tell you that psychological research supports this statement. Studies have been done that prove that when you smile at someone, their facial muscles will mimic the expression on your face. This can occur with any facial expression, not just smiling. The studies also support the fact that it is not only the smiling facial expression that is mimicked but also the emotion that is associated with it…again; this can be when you smile or when you are angry. So, quite literally, the old song lyrics about smiling and the whole world smiles with you takes on new and refreshing meaning! So, when you want to change the atmosphere around you…just smile and instead of frowning and see what happens!

Smiling Can Boost the Immune System

This top 5 reason to smile happens when you smile an authentic smile at someone else, they smile, too. This can cause some physiologic changes in their bodies that can not only boost the immune system but can also reduce stress and lower blood pressure. All of these positive effects on both the “smile-r” and the “smile-e” can work toward changing attitudes which can ultimately make you healthier. The bigger, brighter and more genuine the smile is, the more positive effect it will have on those around you.

Smiles Are a Great Stress Reliever

Here is another top 5 reason to smile that will really pay off in the long term. When you are having a bad day at work, or fighting with the kids or the spouse, or even when you’re frustrated while you sit in traffic trying to get from point A to point B on a time schedule, try to smile instead of frowning, biting your nails and making four-letter word references about the people in the cars around you. Think of something very pleasant or funny instead of thinking the thoughts that are making your angry or frustrated. It won’t be long and you will feel a smile come across your face and your attitude will lighten up. Stress relief whenever you want it! It just doesn’t get any better than that! It is the ultimate mood booster!

Smiling Can Relieve Pain

This top 5 reason to smile can really come in handy for anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is another area that has been heavily researched. They have found that smiling releases endorphins. What are endorphins, you say? Well, read this definition from Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary:

“Endorphin: A polypeptide produced in the brain that acts as an opiate and produces analgesia by binding to opiate receptor sites involved in pain perception. The threshold for pain is therefore increased by this action. The most active of these compounds is beta-endorphin.”

Endorphins have been called the body's natural pain relievers. They are biochemical substances manufactured by the body that can reduce pain and help you bring about a feeling of euphoria and well-being.

Another excerpt from Sports Medicine:

“Endorphins are classified as "endogenous opioid polypeptides" and they are thought to be produced by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus during strenuous exercise, and in response to pain, excitement and other stress stimulus. Once produced, endorphins are distributed throughout the nervous system where they interact with the opiate receptors to reduce our perception of pain. These natural pain relievers not only reduce the perception of pain, but they are also linked with an increased sense of euphoria and well-being. “

So, as you can see, smiling can be quite beneficial not only from a younger and more attractive physical appearance perspective but also from a health perspective. I’ll bet you think of more top 5 reasons to smile. If not, try some of these and see what happens. I will wager that once you try it, you will really like it and do it often!

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