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Smile and Smile More

Tuesday Health Blog:

Yes, research has found that people who smile often are more likable, more attractive, healthier, live longer and have better relationships. Thumbs up for smiles.

It is an act of universal human bonding, a sign of happiness and across cultures, a sign of acceptance. With smiles, you can’t have enough, as a smile stretches a mile exuding confidence and positivity for all to catch. Smiles are the most recognisable facial expression in the world. Most positive people are natural smilers, and if you are not, even if you fake a smile, you are still doing it right and you will get there.

It’s been found from self–perception theory (Bem, 1972; Laird, 1974) that the act of smiling – even if fake – tricks the part of your brain associated with happiness and would still release endorphins just the same. The brain can’t differentiate between the physical act of fake smiling or real smiling – to your brain, it’s the same. So when you practice fake smiling the brain thinks you’re happy, and if done enough times, it hard wires and eventually create a genuine, happy smile and thus a more positive personality, how good is that!

Dr. Alex Jones, a lecturer in Psychology at the Welsh university and an expert in facial perception, said they had finally found scientific proof that a ‘smile is the best accessory’ to looking and feeling good.

He also said: 'We discovered that faces look healthier when they are smiling, compared to a neutral expression, and that it doesn't matter whether the faces are male or female.

'We also found that this effect increased with the age of the face: while younger adults look healthier when they smile, older adults look much healthier’. We cannot go wrong, can we!

'A smile was a more important cue than how old the face appeared to be, and more recent research has shown a happy expression is even more important than cues like body shape, size and skin colouration.'

Dr. Jones further added: 'These amazing associations are linked to an aspect of our psychology known as positive affect. 'This is a highly desirable trait to have: it means you live a longer and healthier life by being optimistic and cheerful'. The world needs more positive people for a happier world and the time is to start now.

'There is a simple message here: looking good costs nothing at all', said Dr. Jones.

Besides, it is so much more fun and so much easier to smile than to frown. It takes fewer muscles, and scientists have discovered that your body works less hard and expands less energy smiling than frowning so what are we waiting for!

You have heard this, hundreds of times, smiling is contagious and scientists agree. In a study conducted in Sweden, people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other subjects who were smiling, and their muscles twitched into smiles all on their own, HaHa.

Smile at every opportunity, even forcing one, boosts your mood and lifts your spirits, psychologists tell us. By the way, “You are never dressed fully without a smile!!!!!!”

Positive energy boosts your immune system, smiling gets you connected with the right energy and the relaxed state with the release of the feel-good hormone endorphins, help you feel and look good, even when you force it. So, to enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life, smile, smile, smile. If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours please; sharing and caring brings more smiles all round.

Mahes Karuppiah-Quillen N.D.

Health & Lifestyle Consultant, President Laughter Clubs Victoria

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