Most of us can attest that when we smile or laugh, we feel better.
I recently read an interesting Psychology Today article by Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW about the physiological effects of smiling. Here is an excerpt:
According to Mark Stibich, a consultant at Columbia University, and contributor to a Guide to Longevity at about.com —
1. Makes Us Attractive to others There is an automatic attraction to people who smile.
2. Changes Mood. If you try, even when it’s difficult, to smile when you are not feeling good, there is a change it might improve your affect and change the way you are feeling.
3. Contagious Others. will want to be with you. You will be helping others feel good.
4. Relieves Stress. Stress does express itself right in our faces. When we smile, it can help us look better, less tired, less worn down.
5. Boosts Immune System. Smiling can actually stimulate your immune response by helping you relax.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure. When you smile, there is evidence that your blood pressure can decrease.
7. Releases Endorphins and Serotonin. Research has reported that smiling releases endorphins, which are natural pain relievers, along with serotonin, which is also associated with feel good properties.