smiling seniors

Want to Feel Better? All It Takes is a Smile.

News | October 4, 2023 | Reading Time 3:00 Minutes

When you’re getting up in the morning, one of the first things you do is choose your clothes for the day. But studies show you shouldn’t forget to wear something else: a smile.

It costs nothing to smile, and the health benefits are huge. SCL Health reports that smiling lets your brain release tiny molecules called neuropeptides, which help reduce stress.

NBC News reports that smiling, even when you’re feeling low, can boost your mood and make you feel better. Smiling initiates a chemical reaction in the brain that releases certain hormones, including dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine increases feelings of happiness, while serotonin is connected to decreasing stress.

So even when you feel less than jolly, putting a smile on your face can trick your brain into believing you’re happy and then—voilà—you actually do feel happier.

There is plenty of science behind smiling, which shows other benefits. The physical act of smiling actually has benefits for the immune system. One study found that when two groups of college students were exposed to a cold virus, students in the group that was also exposed to happiness-inducing stimuli, such as funny videos, were less likely to get sick than those who were not.

So that old saying –that laughter (including smiling) is the best medicine holds true. And there are a host of other benefits of smiling, including:

  • Pain relief: Releasing those feel-good hormones by simply smiling has been shown to block pain signals and promote relaxation.
  • Lower blood pressure: Smiling can temporarily reduce blood pressure, which helps promote cardiac health. A study at the University of California at Irvine found that smiling during a needle injection can reduce stress and lower the heart rate.
  • Building social bonds: Just think about this. Would you rather spend time with someone who’s always frowning or someone who smiles and seems to enjoy life? Smiling is inviting to others and can help people make social connections.
  • Better communication: Smiling makes a person seem more approachable, which leads to better communication.
  • Emotional resilience: As stated earlier, smiling can trick your brain into helping you feel happier. Having a positive outlook on life and feeling happier, even when you’re facing life’s many challenges, can help you become emotionally stronger and more resilient. The journal Experimental Psychology, performed a study that suggests that smiling—or acting even if you’re not feeling particularly upbeat—can influence your outlook on life and help you feel more positive.

So when you put on your clothes or apply your make-up, be sure to put on a smile –it’s a good bet that you’ll feel better throughout the day if you’re wearing your happy face.

The residents of Heritage Pointe of Warren have smiles on their faces. It’s easy here, where they have a beautiful home with wonderful amenities, great food, a busy activities calendar, and wonderful friends.