Saturday, August 31, 2013

It’s All in the Smile

I was in the grocery store last week and a young girl next to me in the isle wasn’t paying attention to where she was going and backed up into me. I could tell she was expecting a harsh reaction by the look on her face. Instead, I simply smiled. No words were exchanged between us but immediately the atmosphere changed. A smile and soft eyes returned my very simple gesture - her body language reflected relief. I can only imagine how that child must have been treated by others…that she would come to expect a harsh reaction for such a silly blunder instead of expecting grace.

When we smile it doesn’t only affect others positively, it helps us too! Here are some fun facts about smiling to encourage you to harness this simple but mighty powerful tool:
1.      Lowers Heart Rate – Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body. This lets the heart work without overworking. People who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease. Smiling reduces blood pressure temporarily too.

2.       Reduce Stress – Stress is a common problem in the modern world that causes a myriad of health problems. Stress relief may be as simple as smiling a little more throughout the day. Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and diminish the stress hormones.

3.      Betters Your Mood – The endorphins do more than kick stress to the curb. Endorphins lift your mood. Feeling down? Slap a smile on your face, even if it isn’t entirely genuine at first, and turn your entire day around with something simple, easy to do, and free.

4.      Increase Productivity – Smiling has been shown to increase productivity while performing tasks. There’s truth to the “whistle while we work” mentality. This also explains why silly internet memes and pictures of cute animals can actually get people motivated and working harder after a few moments of smiling or laughter.

5.       Longevity – The effects of a good smile extend past just the exterior good looks. People who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer than most according to one study. It releases stress, helps the heart, and much more to keep you healthy longer.

6.      Boost Immune System – Smiles help the body relax and this lets the immune system react more quickly and effectively against invaders.

7.      Look Younger – Smiles naturally lift the face and in studies have shown to make people look younger, around 3 years younger on average.

So, have you smiled recently? 

Michelle Brockman for
Jonah’s Place

Smile facts excerpt from Pulsipher

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