How A Smile A Day Can Make You Healthier and Wealthier
Show your teeth! Smile more – toothily - and this can have a direct effect on your health and wealth. Commit to happiness and your whole life benefits.
In case you are having trouble with the whole smiling with your teeth thing, here's some advice from WebMD.
Smiling positively affects your emotional state, even if you force it. Alena Hall writes in a Huffington Post article,
"While some researchers insist the benefits of smiling can only be rendered from a genuine expression of happiness, others have found that a forced smile can still make you feel happy, 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. In this case, maybe it's OK to fake it a little."
Additionally, smiling helps reduce stress, retrains the brain to think more positively, and strengthens the body on a cellular level. It even makes you more creative.
A Smile A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
We've talked before about how living purposefully lengthens life, but did you know that happiness can boost your health? Scientific studies reveal that happy people have stronger immune systems, healthier hearts and a greater ability to handle stress. According to the Greater Good Science Center at Berkeley,
"Love and happiness may not actually originate in the heart, but they are good for it. For example, a 2005 paper found that happiness predicts lower heart rate and blood pressure. In the study, participants rated their happiness over 30 times in one day and then again three years later. Happiest participants had a lower heart rate on follow-up (about six beats slower per minute). They also had better blood pressure."
Research has also uncovered a link between happiness and another measure of heart health: heart rate variability, which refers to the time interval between heartbeats and is associated with risk for various diseases. In a 2008 study, researchers monitored 76 patients suspected to have coronary artery disease. Was happiness linked to healthier hearts even among people who might have heart problems? It seemed so: The participants who rated themselves as happiest on the day their hearts were tested had a healthier pattern of heart rate variability on that day.
In another study, older people who are optimists have a 77% lower risk of heart disease than pessimists. An analysis of 30 studies discovered that happiness adds years to your life. Happy people, on average, live seven and one-half years longer than unhappy people. They also have fewer aches and pains, and are less likely to succumb to diseases and become frail in old age.
A Smile A Day Affects Your Wealth
A study in 2007 of 2,000 households in the Netherlands revealed that happier people make better investments. According to an article by Dr. David Eifrig in Retirement Millionaire,
"What they saw was that happier people made better investments. They were more willing to save their money instead of spend it on material goods. And when they invested, they were more willing to take healthy risks because they anticipated better outcomes. Overall, these folks showed that happiness and optimism made them better able to look forward to a positive future. That meant they anticipated better returns and, consequently, took more risks."
Why is this? Here comes some science. Happier people adjust better to losses because they don't surrender to their amygdala, the tiny region in your brain responsible for fear. Some studies have shown that you can calm the signals in your amygdala by actively trying to improve your mood. Back to the faked smile.
Any other studies linking happiness to wealth? Thanks for asking. Back to the article from Dr. Eifrig,
"Similarly, several articles have shown that day traders with positive attitudes see better performance in their portfolios over time. In studies by researchers for the National Bureau of Economic Research, traders with consistently better, more stable moods had overall better portfolio performances. Because their PFCs (prefrontal cortexes) had more activity, they were able to fight the erratic fears of their amygdalas, meaning big wins or losses did not sway their judgment."
As the Irish say, "A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."
Just remember, in the balance sheet of life, happiness is an asset that positively affects your health and wealth. Prioritize happiness.