Diabetes Blogs

Smile and Laugh: It's Good For Your Health

Did you know that smiling and laughter have been scientifically proven to be good for your health? Well, it's true, and developing a practice of smiling and laughter into your life can actually enhance your well-being on many levels!

Fake It Til You Make It

While it may seem crazy, it's true that fake smiling and fake laughter can actually boost your health as much as the real macoy. Why? because your body can't tell the difference between the two, and the physiological and chemical reactions that happn inside your body in response to smiling and laughter occur whether you're faking it or doing it for real. Research has indeed shown that making your face smile causes the same chemical reactions in your body. Isn't that an amazing reason to smile? 

Just like smiling, laughter is the same thing, and fake laughter (which, by the way, can lead pretty easily to real laughter) causes many wonderful things to happen in your body. 

So What Really Happens? 

Smiling has been shown to cause a variety of positive results, including: 

  • Decreased anxiety
  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Decreased sensations of pain
  • Increased trust and empathy
  • Increased productivity and attention
  • Longevity (people who smile more have been shown to live an average of 7 years longer than those who don't

Meanwhile, laughter has been shown to have the following benefits: 

  • Increased abdominal muscle tone
  • Increased happiness and positivity
  • Improved mood
  • Release of "happy chemicals", including dopamine and endorphins
  • Improved digestion
  • Decreased pain
  • Improved cardiac health and circulation
  • Increased immune function
  • Decreased anxiety and fear
  • Muscular relaxation
  • Decreased levels of stress hormones

Why Not Try It? 

For improved cardiac health, circulation, abdominal muscle tone and the other positive effects of laughter, it doesn't seem to make sense to not try to laugh more. While some of us feel like we can't laugh without something funny causing us to react with laughter, it can seem strange to try to laugh without a joke, funny movie or other impetus.

However, many people who practice "Laughter Yoga" make a habit of laughing in the shower, while driving, or in other normal day to day situations. For myself, I try to remember when sitting at red lights---it helps me to relax and feel less stressed when in traffic. 

In terms of smiling, you can "practice" fake smiling in the car, while working, while cooking, or even while walking or exercising. And if you practice smiling while walking downtown, people may smile back, and then you've even impacted someone else while helping yourself! 

And if it's really hard to do it without humor or jokes, do what many people do: watch funny videos! YouTube is a great place to find a good laugh

Based on the documented health beneftis, there's really no reason to not try to laugh and smile more often. You may feel silly at first, but who knows how many years you'll add onto your lifespan by giving it a try? 

So, laugh and smile more, and let us know what happens! 

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