Benefits of Smiling and Laughing – While smiling and laughing might be good for your health, as a child develops into an adult, you often lose the practice of doing so. A children’s playground is a great illustration of this, with youngsters running around, always laughing and smiling as they enjoy living in the now. At the same time, parents sit around the perimeter, filled with the stresses of modern life, with the occasional grin breaking their otherwise severe facial expressions. Adults can benefit from following in the footsteps of children and making more room in their life for smiles and laughter.
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Numerous studies have demonstrated that smiling and laughing have a variety of health benefits. Along with improved health, these straightforward facial expressions and common human behaviors can have a noticeable positive effect on a variety of other aspects of your life. When you smile or laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, most of which occur subconsciously.
1. Anytime you smile, neurotransmitters called endorphins are released.
These are triggered by facial muscle movements, which are interpreted by the brain, which then releases these chemicals. Endorphins are responsible for our happiness and also contribute to stress reduction. Faking a smile or laugh works just as well as the genuine article—the brain makes no distinction between the two because it interprets the facial muscles’ position in the same way. This is commonly referred to as the facial feedback hypothesis. The more frequently we stimulate our brain to release this chemical, the happier and more relaxed we feel.
2. Endorphins make us feel better and help us cope with stress.
Additionally, they function as the body’s natural analgesics. For chronic pain sufferers, laughing and smiling can be extremely beneficial in pain management, as can laughing off the pain of a bumped elbow or a fall.
3. While endorphin release is increased, the stress hormone cortisol is decreased.
Cortisol is more active when we are stressed or anxious, contributing to the unpleasant feelings we experience; by lowering it, we can alleviate these negative emotions.
4. Laughing expands the lungs, stretches the body’s muscles, and helps maintain homeostasis.
This exercises the body, replenishing the cells with oxygen from a lungful and reaping all of the benefits of exercise.
5. A good laugh can be a powerful way to let go of negative emotions.
A good laugh can assist you in releasing emotions, particularly those that have been bottled up inside. Everything appears to be a little bit brighter after a good laugh, and life can be viewed more optimistically. Smiling and laughing also have beneficial social consequences.
Smiling is an endearing expression that is more likely to attract people to you than to repel them.
6. Smiling increases your approachability. Interaction with others is made easier and more enjoyable when smiles and laughter are shared, and these behaviors are contagious, uplifting others and making you a more appealing and attractive person to be around. It will have a beneficial effect on your overall well-being.
7. A cheerful, optimistic disposition will serve you well in life.
It is especially true in stressful situations such as job interviews: a cheerful, relaxed demeanor demonstrates confidence and also the ability to cope well under duress. This will also benefit your career, as you will develop healthy relationships with colleagues and will be viewed positively by your employers.