Smiling: benefits of a good countenance

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By Joanna Oyeleke

In the words of Mother Teresa: “Let us always meet each other with a smile, for a smile is the beginning of love.”  A smiling face is a happy face. The world we are in now is faced with a lot of problems that have the ability to deprive one of joy and happiness if care is not taken. We are daily faced with challenges that most times want to make us give up, but we have to decide not to give up and forge ahead with a smiling face.  

Having a genuine smile on our face daily is of great benefit not only to ourselves but to others because that smile on your face has the ability of assuring another person that there is hope for them.  The simple act of smiling has a lot of benefits attached to it and they include: reduced stress, reduced blood pressure, draws people’s attention to you, giving others a ray of hope, elevating your mood, and it makes you a positive person.   If you have always been going around frowning or going about with a hard face as some people do at times, I think it is because we don’t know the numerous benefits attached to this seamless act. And in order to help bring out that beautiful smile on our faces and also help us enjoy the benefits attached to smiling, here are reasons you should have a good countenance always.  

  • It improves your mood:  Putting on a smile when you feel down or stressed out can help improve your mood in no small ways. When you get back from work and you are tired and drained, look for avenues that will make you smile, help calm your nerves and also improve your mood.  Smiles physically activate pathways in the brain that influence your emotional state. So just by smiling, you can trick your mind into feeling happy — regardless of whether it’s real or not.  When you smile, neuropeptides, as well as hormones like dopamine and serotonin are released, enhancing your neural communication. It’s like a natural anti-depressant when you smile.  Check out these 7 practices that help you stay happy.   
  • It makes you look younger:  Have you ever been told to stop frowning your face? Well, I have been told that frowning doesn’t make me look prettier rather it makes me look older than my age and uglier, I guess.  Well, I don’t know if this is scientifically true but from experience, people who smile look younger than their counterparts that do not.  You tend to look younger than your age when you smile a lot and I guess that is the reason photographers ask us to smile when we are about taking pictures.  
  • It may help you live longer: One of the best reasons to smile might be that it could make you live longer. In a 2010 study, it was found that genuine, intense smiling is linked to longer life expectancy. While there’s more research to be done, there is some evidence to suggest maintaining a positive mood could contribute to living a longer and healthier life. This is an indication that happiness could extend life for many years.  
  • It lowers blood pressure:  Having a smile on your face always can help lower your blood pressure.  Laughter is especially known to lower blood pressure after it increases heart rate and breathing initially. Researchers have found that smiling can lower your heart rate in the face of stress, but further research is needed to figure out exactly how it lowers blood pressure.  
  • Makes people attracted to you:  If the truth be told, who would leave a person who is smiling and approach an individual who is not? Definitely, not me or anyone else. When you smile, you naturally attract people to yourself. People feel comfortable being with you and around you.   Having a smile makes you the centre of attraction to others.  
  • It is contagious: The power of a smile has been proven time and again, but is it really true? Actually, it does carry a hint of truth. In addition to elevating your mood, smiling can also benefit those around you.  Your brain responds automatically to the facial expressions of other people – and sometimes you imitate them. As a result, you might notice another’s smile and smile unconsciously.   So, yes. Smiling is contagious, as scientific research has proven.  

Life is not hard and you shouldn’t make it be by frowning your face. Choose to have a good countenance always as you have nothing to lose by putting on a smile always.

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