Do you smile and laugh often? If not, you may be missing out on some major benefits that they provide! Smiling and laughing have been shown to improve mental and physical health in a number of ways. And it makes sense – smiling is one of the main signals we give each other to indicate positive interactions. As well, everyone has had that relaxing, almost euphoric feeling after a good laugh.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of smiling and laughing:
The Science of Smiling
Endorphins are the hormones in our brain that trigger positive feelings. When you smile, a signal is transmitted to the brain that stimulates our reward system, encouraging the release of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and even oxytocin. These chemicals act as analgesics, and they fight anxiety and depression.
A study done by psychological scientists at the University of Kansas found that, “smiling during brief stressors can help reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether a person actually feels happy.” Not to say smiling is the fix to all of your problems, but it definitely makes you feel better in the moment.
The Many Health Benefits of Laughter
Everyone loves a good laugh. It lifts your mood in the moment and encourages bonding with others. But many people are unaware of the positive physical changes triggered in your body while you’re laughing. Laughter acts as a:
- Pain reliever
- Muscle relaxant
- Stress protectant
- Mood booster
- Heart protectant
The many advantages of laughing regularly boost your immune system, creating a positive feedback loop. Your body spends less time managing the negative effects of stress, which means it has more time and energy to help you feel, well, better. What’s more, there’s evidence that people who laugh and smile a lot actually have longer lifespans. And it burns calories! Who doesn’t like that?
Long-Term Effects of Smiling & Laughing
Both laughter and smiling make for a quick boost of happiness in the moment, however, each actually can have some long-term benefits for your health – like that longer lifespan. How? When negative thoughts occur, they manifest into chemical reactions. These chemical reactions affect your body by causing more stress and decreasing your immunity. Positive thoughts, like those that occur when laughing or smiling, release neuropeptides that help decrease stress. Some other long-term health effects of the two are:
- Producing natural painkillers/raising pain tolerance
- Lowering blood pressure
- Better coping skills/stress resilience
- More close and satisfying relationships
- Heightened self-esteem
- Lower levels of depression
- Reduced risk of heart disease
Studies have found that just by being around someone who is smiling makes it almost impossible for you not to smile too. Further research shows that individuals who express positive emotions are more likely to achieve their everyday goals, as well as their career goals. People who smile more are also likely to form better relationships, as they are viewed as more likable.
But we know not everyone has a smile they’re confident to flash in positive or funny moments. And that’s what dental specialists are for. Don’t miss out of the benefits of smiling and laughing; if you need a couple teeth replaced or a full-mouth reconstruction, Wilmington Oral Surgery can get you to a place where you’ll want any excuse to show off those pearly whites and really enjoy those good moments in life.
Smiling and laughing have a variety of benefits for both our mental and physical health. They reduce stress, make us happier, help us form better relationships, and have long-term health benefits. So, the next time you’re feeling down or stressed out, try to smile or laugh – it just might be the best thing for you!