What are the health benefits of smiling?

Instinctively, we already know the health benefits of smiling. After all, happy people even when they are sick, don’t look as sick as they should be. Those who always have a smile on their faces also tend to be livelier, and some even look much younger than their current age.

So how does smiling keep us healthy? Is the whole idea of smiling as a trigger for good health just an illusion?

The Benefits

Well, it turns out that smiling does help your body in proven ways. Smiling not only helps your physical health, but also, as it turns out, it also helps your emotional and psychological balance.

1. Endorphins

When you smile, the muscles that are used somehow also send a signal to your brain, such that your brain orders the release of endorphins. For those who aren’t familiar with the substance, endorphins are substances in the body that help makes us feel happy. This feeling of well-being and happiness, in turn, lowers stress levels and the lowers the amount of accompanying substances released into the body.

It’s interesting to note that the brain does not differentiate if you smile forcibly or naturally. As long as you smile, the endorphins will be release.

2. Pain Management

Have you ever suffered a minor injury, and your reaction is laughter or smiling? Well, guess what, that’s actually not so crazy. Apparently, smiling triggers many natural pain management systems in the body. All you have to do is have good humor about a minor injury, and you can actually help heal it faster – or at the very least, get over the shock of the first stab of pain faster.

3. Cortisol reduction

If you weren’t aware, cortisol is the opposite of endorphins, in the sense that cortisol triggers feelings of stress and anxiety. When you smile or laugh, you also reduce the amount of cortisol in your system, as endorphins replace them, in turn.

Since cortisol is also linked to stress, it’s a fair bet that smiling really does reduce stress levels, if only because endorphins are removing cortisol from your system.

4. Emotional release

A smile or a laugh can help your emotional health, by allowing you to release pent up emotions or stress in the form of humor-induced laughter, or because of a thought that makes you feel good, or lets you appreciate the ridiculousness of certain situations.

5. Psychological effects

People who smile more usually attract people who are also in a good mood to themselves. This social instinct can be very important, particularly for those who have very busy jobs, or have an exasperating situation happening to them. By being able to smile about the situation, the psychological stress of the situation is reduced or even rendered invalid.

6. Smiling as a habit

The following reasons above are among the best when it comes to justifying smiling as a habit. For your own health, it’s a good idea to take a deep breath and just smile when stressful events are happening. The equilibrium that you will have by staying calm and relatively happy can actually help you solve any situation even faster.