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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Something to Smile About

It’s that time of year where you bring your best smile to match the great weather, or is it?

 

However, until the 19th century, historically portraiture had a common theme: no smiles. It was thought that smiling in photos was offensive, ill witted, disrespectfull, and downright mockery. Even author Mark Twain thought since a photograph is a most important document, nothing could be more terrible than a “silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.” This is quite interesting because as babies we begin smiling not too long after we enter the world. Then, as time goes on, we learn to control our smile. We learn when and when not to smile, especially when it comes to being in front of the camera.

Some find it easy to smile in front of the camera; although; having a natural looking smile for the camera in many instances has to be learned. Others may need to think of a reason to smile and focus a little harder to bring forth that ray of sunshine to the camera.

Nowadays, anything less than a smile (except under certain conditions or in certain situations) is viewed as unusual. People look to photos to speak to their inner self and their inner feelings. They look to photos to incite a mood, for affirmation, and to agree with them. When they are sad they look for a smile. When they are happy they look for a smile. Today, we almost mock photos that look too intense or too serious when the situation may not merit these expressions. However, it’s hard to imagine that a little over century ago, what many people found offensive or absurd was a smile.

However, when it comes to smiling it’s good to know that there are a ton of benefits and it’s not just to have others view your photos in the happiest light.  Smiling also makes you approachable, and smiles are free. Smiling will make you more comfortable. Smiling as a part of your daily routine has been proven to do the following:
 
Lower heart rate — Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body. This lets the heart work without overworking. People who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease. Smiling also temporarily reduces blood pressure.

Reduce stress — Stress is a common problem in the modern world that causes a myriad of health problems. Stress relief may be as simple as smiling a little more throughout the day. Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and diminish the stress hormones.

Better mood — The endorphins do more than kick stress to the curb. Endorphins lift your mood. Feeling down? Slap a smile on your face, even if it isn’t entirely genuine at first, and turn your entire day around with something simple, easy to do, and free.
   
Increase productivity — Smiling has been shown to increase your productivity while performing tasks. There’s truth to the “whistle while we work” mentality. This also explains why silly internet memes and pictures of cute animals can actually get people motivated and working harder after a few moments of smiling or laughter.

Encourage trust — Studies show that we are more trustful of others when they smile and smile genuinely. Trust is an important part of social health when dealing with people, whether they be loved ones or simple acquaintances. It seems relationships are truly built on smiles.

 

Produce empathy — When we’re embarrassed or caught doing something questionable, often our first response is a smile. This instinct breaks the initial ice of embarrassment, promotes leniency in what others think of us, and engenders a sense of empathy since we’ve all experienced embarrassment and we want to smile along.

 

Avoid regret — We smile to avoid feeling bad for not smiling. Sounds weird and circular, but we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so we smile when someone shares some story about their dog, even if we don’t really care. Studies show that if we don’t smile, we feel regret for failing to do so. This regret brings down our mood and boosts stress hormones.

 

Kill pain — Smiling and laughter both have been shown to lessen pain. They release endorphins that lift our moods, but many of these act as natural painkillers too.

 

Increase attention — Stress limits our perceptions and narrows our attention. Our bodies kick into fight or flight mode where we can focus only on one of those things. Smiling counteracts this and widens our attention again, opening us back up to multitasking and insights that come from the fringes of our perception and our subconscious.

 

Contagious — Around 50 percent of people smile back. This spreads the health benefits throughout those around you and it comes back to you several times as well.

 

Build attraction — Smiling makes people more attractive. This seems to be especially true for women. Men are more likely to approach a woman who smiles than one who simply makes eye contact, while women aren’t necessarily drawn in by a smile alone.

 

Earn success — A smile can appear confident, self-assured, and on top of your work. Those who smile are more likely to earn more money through tips and raises. They are more readily approached with business ideas and offered advancements.

 

Look younger — Smiles naturally lift the face and in studies have shown to make people look younger, around three years younger on average.

 

Longevity — The effects of a good smile extend past just the exterior good looks. People who smile more often live longer too, around seven years longer than most according to one study. It releases stress, helps the heart, and much more to keep you healthy longer.

 

Boost immune system — Smiles help the body relax and this lets the immune system react more quickly and effectively against invaders.
 
While some researchers insist the benefits of smiling can only be rendered from a genuine expression of happiness, others have found that even a forced smile can still make you feel happy. This is true even when your existing mood and surroundings suggest otherwise. It only takes smiling for a brief period of time to experience its benefits — no matter how contrived it feels initially.

 

It’s hard to imagine that up until a couple of centuries ago many people found a smile to be offensive or absurd. However, the smile has become a staple in our society to bring internal and external joy to those we may not even know we impact.  “A gentle word, a kind look, a good-natured smile can work wonders and accomplish miracles” (William Hazlitt). It has the power to infect because it is contagious. It has the power to affect (to produce a change in or influence something), and a smile leaves a lasting effect (a change that occurred) even when we are unable to witness the change. So, remember to smile because you never know how it may impact someone when they need it the most and your smile may give someone else something to smile about.
   
New Expressions Photography, Videography & Web Design is located at 211 Landmark Dr., Building B Suite E, Normal, IL 61761, For more information or specials, call 309-825-8038 or visit newexpressions.biz.




 

 

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