Did You Know…you can add 7 years to your life simply by smiling more?
Have you ever been advised to fake it until you make it? When it comes to smiling, this advice is scientifically proven to be on the mark. The simple fact is, smiling extends your lifespan.
Today’s cutting-edge research on this matter was born with one of Charles Darwin’s lesser-known theories. Darwin claimed that the mere act of smiling can make us feel better. Just as feeling happy causes us to smile, proposed Darwin, so can smiling cause us to feel happy.
Almost a century and a half later, scientists at Wayne State University proved that Darwin was right. But the truth was even better. The researchers found that smiling not only improves your mood, but can also potentially lengthen your life.
Wayne State’s Breakthrough Study
For the study, the team analyzed players’ smiles on 1952 baseball cards, and found that the size of a player’s smile could predict the length of that player’s life. Players who grinned lived an average of 79.9 years, whereas those who did not smile at all lived only 72.9 years. Thats a difference of 7 years!
The Fort Wayne study did not explore the biological connections between bigger smiles and longer lives, but the therapeutic benefits of smiling have been well-documented elsewhere. Research links smiling to a variety of positive outcomes, including…
- Lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine
- Increased levels of endorphins and other mood-enhancing hormones
- Normalized blood pressure
- Improved health overall
The Astonishing Power of a Smile
According to a study carried out in the United Kingdom, you don’t even need to be the one smiling to benefit. Scientists from Hewlett Packard used an electromagnetic brain scan machine and a heart-rate monitor to detect the “mood-boosting values” of different kinds of stimuli. For the tests, 109 volunteers were subjected to three kinds of stimuli:
- They were shown photos of friends, family, and loved ones
- They were given chocolate to eat
- They were given cash
Smiling faces in the photographs had far and away the most potent influence of participants’ moods. “Participants who were shown a child’s smile experienced the same level of stimulation as they would have from eating 2,000 bars of chocolate,” the authors stated. In terms of money, it would cost you $25,000 to buy the same amount of happiness generated by a child’s smile.
“The powerful emotions triggered when someone important in our lives smiles at us and we smile back changes our brain chemistry,” commented Dr. David Lewis, psychologist and author ofThe Secret Language of Success, who analyzed the tests. Lewis also highlighted the importance of sincerity. Participants detected fake smiles, which had the opposite effect on mood.