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Apart from letting others know you have just eaten poppy seeds, smiling has some amazing health benefits. So, go on, try it today.
Smiling is contagious
Because of the complex brain activity that occurs when you see someone smiling, smiles are contagious. Studies report that just seeing one person smiling activates the area of your brain that controls your facial movement, which leads to a grin.
Smiling lowers stress and anxiety
It’s not easy to smile in stressful situations, but studies report that doing exactly that has health benefits. When recovering from a stressful situation, study participants who were smiling had lower heart rates than those with a neutral facial expression. The next time you feel stressed, try a smile to calm yourself down.
Smiling releases endorphins
Smiling can help manage stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins – natural chemicals that make you happier. Endorphins are the chemicals you get from working out or running, resulting in what is known as a 'runner’s high'. Smile more to get that high without running!
You’ll be more attractive
Smiles are pretty darn attractive for more reasons than one. A smile suggests that you’re personable, easy going and empathetic. In fact, a recent study found that smiling actually makes you more attractive to those you smile at. So go on, flash those pearly whites!
Smiling strengthens your immune system
Smiling even makes your immune system stronger by making your body produce white blood cells to help fight illnesses. One study found that hospitalised children who were visited by story-tellers who made them smile and laugh, had higher white blood cell counts than those children who weren’t visited.
You’ll be more approachable
Studies have found that people are more willing to engage socially with others who are smiling. A smile is an inviting facial expression that tells people you are willing to talk and interact with them.
Smiling will make you more comfortable
Our natural tendency is to stick to things that are familiar, but smiling decreases this need. A study found that smiling can make you more comfortable in situations you would otherwise feel awkward in.
You’ll seem more trustworthy
Trusting doesn’t come easily to many, but smiling at someone may help. Participants in an American university study rated people who smiled more trustworthy than those with non-smiling facial expressions.
You’ll be a better leader (or look like one)
If you’re in a position of power, or want to be, smiling may be the key to your success. One recent study found that smiling is a more effective leadership technique than having great management responsibilities. So, the next time you really want to show off those leadership skills, just grin.
Smiling is an easy way to boost your mood, be healthier, feel better and be viewed as more trustworthy. Whenever you’re in a stressful situation or are feeling down, slap a grin on your face and take advantage of the many benefits smiling has to offer.
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Speech pathologists provide assessment and management of communication, swallowing and feeding difficulties.
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