It may seem far-fetched, but there are real health benefits to smiling. If you want to live longer, feel better, and improve your overall health, smile. Take it a step further and add laughter to the equation, and you will seriously be doing your body good! It's not always easy to do, especially with all of the crazy things happening in the world today. But there is scientific and medical evidence that can prove when we smile, we feel better.

Smiling affects our brain, reduces stress, lowers our heart rate, and can even influence our physical state. Here are eight health benefits and amazing reasons to smile.

1.)  Molecules, called neuropeptides, assist with communication between neurons and chemical signals in your brain. When we smile, these molecules spring into action to ward off stress.

2.) When we smile, a chemical reaction occurs, and our brain releases dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. This feel-good cocktail of neuropeptides is released in our brains and increases feelings of happiness while lowering anxiety, helping us to relax.

Dopamine - a chemical released in the brain that helps you feel good. Having the right amount of dopamine is important for our overall wellness.

Serotonin - a chemical that plays a role in key body functions like bone health, blood clotting, mood, sleep, digestion, nausea, wound healing, and sexual desire.

Endorphins - a hormone produced and stored in the pituitary gland of the brain the chemical signal blocks pain and increases the feeling of well-being.

3.) When we smile, nerve cells in the middle of the brain send messages to other parts of our brain, allowing us to feel pleasure, satisfaction, and motivation.

4.) Smiling is so good for our body that it helps our brain create a natural anti-depressant. The chemical reaction spreads throughout the body, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure.

5.) Smiling is contagious. When someone smiles at us, we are behaviorally and psychologically conditioned to smile back at them.

6.) Smiling during stressful moments, like being stuck in traffic, can help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, even if a person doesn't feel happy.

7.) A study at Scotland University determined people who smiled and made eye contact were consistently rated more attractive than those who didn’t.

8.) Smiling when happy resides in an unconscious automatic response area of your brain, and there are two types of smiles:

Standard Smiles - which use the muscles around the mouth

Genuine or Duchenne Smiles - engage the muscles around the mouth and eyes.

Regardless of how you’re feeling today, try putting on a smile. It can literally help boost your immune system and prevent feelings of depression and aggravation. Smile for no reason and see how it makes you feel. Better yet, try it in public and start a ripple effect. Show your pearly whites to a stranger and see if they return the favor. You might be pleasantly surprised.

“A smile is a facelift that’s in everyone’s price range!”

- Tom Wilson


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