Smile More, Feel Better

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Let the world see those pearly whites.

Studies show that on average, young children usually smile up to 400 times in a single day. By contrast, adults typically only smile between 40-50 times in a day. Kind of a depressing statistic, huh? It’s true that as you get older, it can be a little bit harder to smile about things. But smiling isn’t just an odd contortion of face muscles, it’s the signal your body produces when everything is alright, when there are things to be happy about. When your brain is happy, it’s healthier. So even if you don’t have anything to explicitly smile about, it wouldn’t hurt to do a little extra smiling in a day.

When you smile, your brain releases increased amounts of beneficial chemicals like endorphins and cortisol. Why? I dunno, brain chemistry is weird like that. But those who smile more have been observed to have better health. Increased cortisol levels in the brain and body contribute to things like lower blood pressure, lower stress, and even higher endurance and pain resistance. It’s actually been scientifically proven that smiling and laughter makes it harder to feel pain. I guess that’s why they say laughter is the best medicine.

If you want to smile more, it’s actually a very simple process. When you get up in the morning and go to your bathroom mirror, just flash yourself a big smile. Don’t worry if you’re not photogenic, nobody’s looking. Just smile and strike a triumphant pose. Studies show that those who practice smiling in the morning tend to smile more easily in everyday life, which in turn contributes to general improvements in mood and temperament.

It’s okay to feel sad, of course. Don’t force yourself to smile if you’re really not feeling it. Just try to smile a little more every day, and you may find it gradually becoming easier to find things to smile about.