5 Reasons to Smile in the Year

There are a lot of reasons you should be flashing those pearly whites more often – smiling is good for your health! According to Psychology Today, when you smile you activate neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness. It is important to find reasons to smile and be grateful for all the lessons we’ve learned, and achievements accomplished. For those who can’t find a reason to smile, Dr. Austin Westover and Dr. Bryant Ash at Westover Family Dentistry has five:

  1. Smiling Relieves Stress. Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Scientists using heart rates to determine the body’s stress response found that the simple act of smiling helped to reduce overall stress. 
  2. Smiling is a Natural Pain Reliever. Endorphins released when smiling essentially act as a natural pain reliever. They also help to relax the body and lower both your heart rate and blood pressure. 
  3. Smiling is a Natural Antidepressant. Having a hard time getting through the day? Smiling can help! The increased levels of serotonin released from smiling serve as a natural mood lifter. While many pharmaceutical antidepressants aim to do the same thing, a smile leaves out the negative side effects. 
  4. Smiling Boosts the Immune System. The act of smiling actually helps the immune system to function more effectively. It is believed that when you smile, immune function improves because you are more relaxed, thanks to the release of certain neurotransmitters. 
  5. Smiling is Contagious. The part of your brain that controls facial expressions and mimicking another person’s smile comes from an unconscious automatic response. That being said, when someone smiles at you, it’s more likely that you’ll smile back. Think of it as your brain returning the favor.

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