Beauty & Confidence: Mind & Wellness
The Health Benefits of Smiling
By Sharon Liao for Beauty & Confidence
A smile can go a long way — especially when it comes to your health. Not only can flashing a grin win you friends, but a growing body of research also reveals that it can deliver a host of body benefits. Here, four more reasons why you should flash those pearly whites more often:
Reason to Smile No. 1: Less Stress
Thereâ€™s some truth to the saying, â€œgrin and bear it.â€ In a study from Kansas State University, people who gave a real smile while tackling pressure-filled tasks had less of a stress response and a lower heart rate than those who kept neutral expressions. So the next time youâ€™re feeling frazzled, take a moment to think of something that makes you giggle.
Reason to Smile No. 2: Pain Relief
According to a study published in the Journal of Pain, people who grimaced during an unpleasant procedure felt more pain than those who turned that frown upside down. Smiling boosts the production of feel-good brain chemicals called endorphins, which can act as a natural pain reliever. Battling a headache or sore back? Watch a few silly YouTube clips for some comedic relief. Itâ€™s impossible not to smile at adorable puppy or kitten videos!
Reason to Smile No. 3: A Happier Outlook
You beam when youâ€™re happy, but it turns out that it works the other way around too. Researchers from Britainâ€™s University of Cardiff found that women who received frown-blocking Botox injections reported feeling happier and less anxious than those who didnâ€™t. (They also said they didnâ€™t feel any more attractive, which rules out the possibility they were just more cheerful because of their lack of wrinkles.) Try smiling even when youâ€™re not feeling peppy — and your mood may soon catch up.
Reason to Smile No. 4: A Healthier Heart
Take heart: A study of nearly 2,000 people published in the European Heart Journal revealed that those with a more positive outlook were less likely to develop heart disease than their more pessimistic peers.
The bottom line: The more smiles, the better! Just remember to stash some tissues in your purse to blot your lipstick and wipe away smudges for a dazzling smile.
Sharon Liao is an editor and writer in Brooklyn, NY. She has been on staff at SHAPE, Prevention and Fitness magazines.