Most of the recommendations for a healthy lifestyle are pretty intuitive. Drink more water and fewer sweet, acidic sodas. Get more exercise and plenty of sleep. Eat a balanced diet.
But here’s a healthy tip you may not have considered: smile. That’s right, taking the time to smile can help you live a healthier life.
Smiling as Micro-Meditation
Stress is one of the biggest health threats you face on a daily basis. Controlling your stress can help you avoid related problems from GERD to heart disease. But many people find it hard to do. Meditation is a proven way to control stress, but it can also take time to master. Here’s a simpler approach that anybody can do.
Just close your eyes, smile, and take a deep breath. Repeat a few times for about a minute or so, and you’ll feel it makes all the difference in your world. You’ll find a little bit of stress relief right in the middle of your day.
The Biology of Smiling
This trick works because it’s utilizing your body’s natural mechanisms to relieve your stress. Smiling isn’t just a response to happiness, it can actually cause happiness. When your brain feels the smiling muscles trigger, it takes the hint that you’re happy.
When we smile, our brain stimulates the release of many important neurotransmitters, including endorphins and serotonin. These can not only boost your mood, they can help relieve your stress.
And without that stress, you won’t suffer as many stress-related illnesses. This can mean a healthier life as you dodge day-to-day colds, but also improved long-term health as you might reduce your risk of cardiovascular conditions related to stress.
Smiling Helps Enforce a Healthy Lifestyle
Smiling can also help you practice other healthy lifestyle choices.
Many of us engage in unhealthy snacking as a form of stress eating or in search of comfort food. This kind of snacking is typically high in sugar and fat, and can be bad for your teeth and your overall health. But if you can make a smile moment your first line of comfort or stress relief, you can avoid much stress eating.
Smiling can also help you stick to your exercise routine. It’s a lot harder to get started exercising when you’re in a bad mood, so making a smile can be an important start of your preparation. And smiling can help you keep going when your body wants to stop. It’s recommended that runners smile to help keep themselves from hitting the wall. The same stress-relieving and mood-boosting effects of smiling that can make it easier to get through your day can also help you push yourself a little harder, no matter your exercise of choice.
Help Others Get Healthy with Your Smile
When you’re healthy and you enjoy the benefits of your healthy lifestyle, it’s hard not to encourage other people to strive to be the same. But that doesn’t mean you have to be “that guy” who is always telling everyone they should pump iron like you.
No, helping other people enjoy a healthier lifestyle is as simple as sharing a smile. You don’t have to tell them to smile: just show your smile and watch them respond with a smile of their own. And they’ll enjoy the same stress-busting and mood-boosting effects that make it easier to eat healthy and exercise.
Don’t Have a Smile You Want to Share?
The only problem with this approach is that not all of us have smiles we’re happy to share. If you feel self-conscious about your smile, you might not want to show it. This may even make your stress level increase and can make you feel bad.
If you’re unhappy with your smile and want to get one that you’ll be happy to share, cosmetic dentistry can help. Please call (702) 873-0324 today for an appointment at the office of Summerlin cosmetic dentist Dr. James B. Polley.