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Turn that frown upside down to realize the benefits of smiling

Turn that frown upside down to realize the benefits of smiling

Feeling a little blah this afternoon? Smiling could help change your mood! In fact, there are many benefits of smiling.

Beyond the simple delight of seeing someone smile or having something make you smile, there are known health benefits associated with this facial expression.

In fact, there’s so much to love about smiling that there’s even a National Smile Day! In honor of the occasion on May 31, keep reading to learn about the benefits of smiling.

The impact of a smile

Having someone tell you to smile can be a little … well, annoying. However, taking their advice and putting a smile on your face can make you feel more like smiling.

Research has shown that smiling benefits your mental and physical health in multiple ways. One study, for example, found that smiling can help people lower their heart rate and recover from stress faster.

Other known benefits of smiling include:

  • Boosted immune system
  • Improved mood
  • Increased longevity
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower heart rate

What causes these health benefits? Smiling releases endorphins, along with neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. These hormones can help you feel good, which in turn has all sorts of positive impacts on your mind and your body.

How to make smiling part of your everyday routine

Smiling boosts your physical and mental health, but it can also benefit those around you. For one thing, smiling is contagious. Anyone who has ever seen a baby grin knows just how true that is.

While there are many benefits for people who smile, sometimes life is just plain challenging. What can you do to maintain your smile-y mindset? Try these ideas:

Create a gratitude practice. At the end of the day, write down a list of things and people you are thankful for. Thinking about the positives and blessings in your day is a guaranteed way to make yourself smile—and gratitude benefits your health in other ways, too.

Pause and watch something funny. What makes you laugh? Is it memes on Facebook or cat videos on the web? Bookmark whatever tickles your funny bone and pull it up regularly for a dose of smiles.

Have a smile challenge. Team up with friends or coworkers—or do a solo challenge—to smile at every person you encounter during the day, even if you’re simply passing by. Making a conscious effort to smile will give you joy, and it will give the recipient joy as well.

Brush up on your dental health. You’ll want to smile more when your teeth are in top shape, so see a dentist regularly, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Drinking plenty of water is also a good dental habit that will help keep that smile sparkling white.

Smile at yourself in the mirror. You might feel a little silly the first few times you do it but make it a part of your routine. When you’re getting ready in the morning or on a trip to the restroom during the day, pause and give yourself a big grin. It can help shift your mood in only a few seconds.

The takeaway? Let your smile shine! Your health will benefit—and so will the world around you.

Has an illness got you frowning? Schedule an appointment with a West Jefferson Medical Center primary care provider to get back to better health.