The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Smiling
While smiling makes us happy emotionally, there are also many health benefits that we can gain from smiling such as:
- reducing stress
- lowering our blood pressure
- boosting our immune system
The majority of us lead demanding and hectic lives juggling work and family, which can increase our stress level. When we are under a tremendous amount of stress, our body releases high levels of stress hormones or Cortisol into our blood stream.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland. It is involved in the stress response and increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Cortisol is the body’s chief stress fighting hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Cortisol is high during periods of stress, and low when relaxing. A decrease in cortisol is associated with increase in serotonin and dopamine.
When we are under enormous stress we tend to over eat. If we over eat a significant amount of unhealthy foods over a long period of time, we may develop illnesses like heart disease and ulcers. If these conditions go untreated, they can become fatal. When we smile, our body relaxes thereby reducing the level of stress hormones or Cortisol in our blood stream.
Lower Blood Pressure
Many studies have indicated that high blood pressure is one of the leading cause of strokes. When we smile our blood pressure increases but then decreases to below normal levels. Since our breathing increases during this process, it allows more oxygen increased blood and nutrients to flow throughout our body. As a result, our blood pressure will decrease.
Boost The Immune System
Our body seems to work better when we smile which helps to boosts our immune system. Since our stress hormones decreases when we smile, it allows certain antibodies or immune cells to increase. The increase in our immune cells help our bodies fight off illnesses such as, the common cold and the flu.
Thus, smiling not only makes us feel better but many studies have shown that smiling is good for our health. Therefore, remember to smile when you are feeling a bit under the weather, it may help you to recover faster. As the saying goes laughter is the best medicine of all.
By: C. Worrell
Originally posted on USmile Magazine
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