Perhaps Louis Armstrong sang it best in the song “When You’re Smiling”

When you’re smilin’, when you’re smilin’,

The whole world smiles with you.

When you’re laughin’, when you’re laughin,’

The sun comes shinin’ through.

It’s hard not to smile back when a friend, or even a total stranger, flashes you a smile on the street.

That’s because smiling is infectious.

And today’s daily health tip is that smiling is good for your health!  Well fancy that.

Americans spend beaucoup bucks every year striving for perfect health, and, as a nation we work darn hard at it.  We have our fitness routines, or time spent at the gym, vitamins lined up in a row in the medicine cabinet, and – oh yes, all those annual doctor and dental visits to make sure you are A-OK.  You are proactive and will reap the rewards of good health.

When you smile, the world knows you are happy, especially when it is a genuine smile… the kind where you get some crinkling around your eyes.  Laugh lines they call them.  Now, that’s the real deal.  But smiling does more than just show off your pearly whites, it also works miracles for your overall health.

Lower your heart rate – Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body, thereby letting the heart thump away, but without overtaxing itself.  In fact, smiling is so important to your heart that those people who smile and laugh more often are less likely to develop heart disease.  Smiling also works to temporarily reduce blood pressure.

Increase productivity – The old adage of “whistle while you work” has some truth to it, because smiling is one way to increase your production while performing tasks.  The act of watching internet videos and silly photos causes us to smile, and, we get a mini burst of joy when we pass these little treasures along to our friends and family.  Just like a coffee break, a little smile serves to reboot our brain and all is right with the world again and we are better able to stay on task.

Encourage trust – Studies show that we are more trustful of people after they smile, especially when we detect a genuine smile.  We learn to rely on those smiles when dealing with others.

Smiling is a painkiller – If you’ve ever heard of “smiling through your tears”, you’ll understand how smiling and laughter both have been shown to lessen pain.  Not only do smiling and laughter release endorphins that lift our moods, but they act as natural painkillers too.

Build attraction and attract the opposite sex – Smiling invites the other person to approach you and say “hey”, rather than just walking by.  This is because smiling, like a tan, makes everyone more attractive.  This seems to be especially true for women. Did you know that men are more likely to approach a woman who smiles than one who simply makes eye contact, while women aren’t necessarily drawn in by a smile alone?

Look confident – A smile makes you appear confident, self-assured, and on top of your game.  At work, a smile means you are readily approachable and you are more likely to be offered advancements and work your way up the corporate ladder much faster than those who frown.
Look younger – A natural smile lifts the face, and, on average, a smile can shave three years off your age.  In fact, a frown uses more facial muscles than a smile does.  Not only will you look younger, but you’ll live longer – at least seven years longer than those who spend more time frowning.

The bottom line is, a smile releases stress, helps the heart, lets your body relax, your immune system reacts more quickly and effectively against invaders… all these things, and much more guaranteed to keep you healthy longer.

So, go ahead and give someone a big smile – around 50% of people smile back.  Send that smile around the world because the world could use more smiles right now.