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I don’t know why this photo is so funny, but you can’t tell me you didn’t laugh. I wanted to make you smile because it’s one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Putting on that happy face benefits us physically, emotionally, and even socially.

Students who smiled in their college yearbook photo were five times less likely to be divorced decades later, according to a DePauw University study. The study didn’t reveal if the former students are happily married, but married they are, and chances are, they really are happy in some small way because they smile. And when someone smiles at us, we usually smile back, so their spouses are smiling too, making it one big happy-fest.

Our bodies physically react when we smile. Blood pressure and heart rate lowers, which reduces stress. Endorphins and serotonin are released and act like an anti-depressant enhancing our mood, reducing pain, boosting our immunity, and increasing productivity. All of these things result in a longer life by as much as seven years compared to those who don’t smile. In addition, everyone around us acquires those benefits because our smile makes them smile.

Smiles are good for business too. People who smile tend to earn more money as smiles encourage trust and display confidence. We naturally like to do business with happy people.

What’s more,  smiles are like little face lifts. They actually make us look younger and more attractive.

So read those funny papers, watch that comedy, think of your joke, and put on a great big smile. It’s a quick and inexpensive means to a healthier, happier life.

(Photo by Erin Lukasiewicz)

 

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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