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The Smile: The most powerful weapon we carry on our face.

Just as your eyes are a window into your soul, a smile can be a window into your heart. A brilliant smile gives off a warmth that draws people in, and can be the ticket to landing a date with your crush or making a strong first impression in a job interview. Aside from the aesthetic appeal, there are also a host of surprising health benefits that come from flashing that toothy grin. Here are 3 unexpected smile benefits that will have you grinning from ear to ear:

Stress Reduction:

Looking to keep the anger beast at bay? Smile! There’s evidence that smiling helps  alleviate stress. In 2012, researchers at the University of Kansas conducted an experiment in which 169 volunteers were asked to perform tasks while holding a variety of expressions on their faces. Unbeknownst to the participants, these tasks were designed to induce stress and required them to thrust their hands into buckets of cold water, use their non dominant hands to trace objects in a mirror, and even hold chopsticks in their mouths. In the end, the participants who were told to smile throughout the experiment experienced lower heart rates than their neutral faced counterparts. Researchers believe that even faking a smile can lower stress levels…gives new meaning to fake it ‘till you make it!

Boost Your Immune System:

In addition to kicking stress to the curb, smiling can help ward off sickness in general. A recent study observed a group of students were split into 2 groups before being exposed to a cold virus. The first group was given a series of comedy videos to watch while group 2 simply waited to be administered the virus. In the end, the group that watched the clips experienced less symptoms than those in group 2. Even when they did encounter symptoms, the group 1 participants reported that they were mild in comparison to colds they’ve experienced in the past. So the next time you feel a tickle in your throat or nose…show us those pearly whites and fight the good fight.

Lower Your Blood Pressure:

Blood pressure readings can be significantly impacted by smiling and laughing. In 2011, researchers at Osaka University in Japan tested the blood pressure of a group of middle aged men and women after exposing them to funny videos and laughter yoga, which combines breathing exercises and comedy. The participants had their readings taken before and after each session, which took place for 1 hour every 2 weeks for 3 months. After the experiment, the researchers reported that blood pressure decreased by an average of nearly 5 mmhg, or millimetres of mercury. On an individual session basis, blood pressure decreased by an average of 7 mmhg.

Even though we don’t need science to help us smile…it’s nice to know the added benefits 🙂

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