Today (October 7) marks World Smile Day, so there’s never been a better time to show off your smile and your pearly whites.
This year’s theme is “Do an act of kindness. Help someone smile”, and this positive message is being shared on social media.
The first World Smile Day was held in 1999 to honor commercial artist Harvey Ball – the guy who created the smiley face in 1963 in an effort to boost the morale of his insurance company employees.
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Although his smiling face has become the most recognized symbol of happiness and remains an integral part of our culture.
However, Ball was not a fan of the commercialization of his smiley face design due to its popularity and therefore decided to launch World Smile Day to celebrate smiles, happiness and kindness.
While Ball passed away in 2001, the event in his honor has continued to this day.
One of the positive aspects of smiling is the surprising health benefits of displaying a smile.
Here are some of the different ways a smile can be good for your health.
Smiling is a stress relieveriStockphoto by Getty Images
Smiling can actually fight stress – well, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides that are able to do just that.
Our bodies also release endorphins, which act as natural stress and pain relievers and therefore reduce the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone.
So it may be worth trying to fake a smile if you’re feeling anxious or under pressure.
To live longer
Smiling can help us live longeriStockphoto by Getty Images
Since smiling reduces our stress levels, it’s no surprise that several studies have shown that those who are more optimistic live longer.
American scientists studied an old photo of a team of baseball players and found that those who smiled in the photo actually lived longer. Big smiles lived an average of 79.9 years. Partial smiles, 75, according to Colgate.
A smile puts us in a good moodiStockphoto by Getty Images
There’s also some evidence that forcing a smile can trick your brain into putting you in a better mood due to the chemical release of dopamine and serotonin.
Benefits the immune system
Even our immune system benefits from our smileiStockphoto by Getty Images
In addition to helping improve our mood, smiling also benefits our immune system, as dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our brain, increases antibody production.
“The crazy thing is that the simple physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity,” Dr. Grossan, an ENT and ear, nose and throat specialist in Los Angeles, told NBC News.
“When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and guess humor happens.
Reduces blood pressure
Smiling sees a reduction in our blood pressureiStockphoto by Getty Images
Since smiling reduces stress, it also helps lower our blood pressure.
A smile or laugh causes an initial increase in heart rate, then there is a period of muscle relaxation followed by a decrease in our heart rate and blood pressure.
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