Mar 22, 2013

Smile for Your Health

Researchers have found what we always knew. Smiling is good for you. A smile slows down your heart and reduces stress. These results follows research that proved the act of smiling can make you feel happier.

Other studies indicate even a polite smile may be beneficial. Frowning also may have a health effect. Preventing people from frowning, such as with the use of Botox can help alleviate depression, according to another study.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people who smiled after engaging in stress-inducing tasks showed a greater reduction in heart rate than people who maintained a neutral facial expression. "We saw a steeper decline in heart rate and a faster physiological stress recovery when they were smiling, even though the participants were not aware they were making facial expressions," according to Sarah Pressman, co-author of the study and an assistant psychology professor at UC Irvine.

Pressman is currently researching how smiling affects certain stress hormones, such as cortisol, and oxytocin. "We've already seen it with heart rate; we are hoping to see it with these other stress levels in the body," she says.