Smiling is one of the most incredibly rewarding steps we can take in life. Seriously, spend a day and smile at everyone around you… take every opportunity to smile and see what it is like! I bet you will feel better than ever. OK, thanks for reading, Daily Sprout over.
Actually… there is reason why it is imperative to write more about it, because it isn’t quite so easy. I mean smiling… well that is easy, but to take it from a surface effort, to a deep committed level of smiling… that is the effort.
It was pretty cool a few years back, we did a little digging and figured out that smiling is pretty heavily researched. This from the “Psychological Bulletin” suggests that humor can be analgesic, though they comment that increased longevity has not been found:
- All published research examining effects of humor and laughter on physical health is reviewed. Potential causal mechanisms and methodological issues are discussed. Laboratory experiments have shown some effects of exposure to comedy on several components of immunity, although the findings are inconsistent and most of the studies have methodological problems. There is also some evidence of analgesic effect of exposure to comedy, although similar findings are obtained with negative emotions. Few significant correlations have been found between trait measures of humor and immunity, pain tolerance, or self-reported illness symptoms. There is also little evidence of stress-moderating effects of humor on physical health variables and no evidence of increased longevity with greater humor. More rigorous and theoretically informed research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn about possible health benefits of humor and laughter. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
I find it pretty interesting that in this article, they are even considering the possibility that humor could increase longevity and furthermore they comment on the fact that there are (though not many) studies that suggest immunity improves with humor.
Nursing Science Quarterly cites some research :
The purpose of this research was to uncover a structure of the lived experience of laughing and health using Parse’s research method. Twenty men and women over 65 years of age volunteered to participate in the study. The structure of the lived experience of laughing and health was found to be a potent buoyant vitality sparked through mirthful engagements, prompting an unburdening delight deflecting disheartenments while emerging with blissful contentment.Recommendations for further research and practice are suggested.
Interesting statement – potent buoyant… mirthful engagements… deflecting disheartenment. This is powerful stuff being suggested here, and this model is rooted in the idea that this powerful change comes from laughing, but engaged in community.
On the contrary, it has been found that in a state of anger, stress, concern. All of the states that is, that separate us from smiling; tend to drive our stress hormones up, cortisol being the leader, and they worsen our health.
Is it not enough then, to simply DECIDE to smile? Let nobody steal your joy, as your joy is a great part of your health.
Be well and Be blessed! - Dr. E