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The 7 Essential Reasons To Smile Every Day
By Steve Agyei
A Time to Smile: The Moment the Ashes were won, in 2009 at the Oval
A Time to Smile: The Moment the Ashes were won, in 2009 at the Oval

Good Morning,

It's time for this week's Monday Motivational Beyond Lifestyle Secrets Newsletter

"As long as you live keep smiling because it brightens everybody's day."
- Vin Scully
Ever since I was a child people have always commented on how much I smile and I have often been called 'Smiler'. It was not something I did consciously, I just always seemed to smile, all the time, no matter how I was feeling, I would smile when I was happy, when I was nervous and even when I was angry.

It made sense to me that I would smile when I was happy, that seemed pretty obvious and when I was feeling nervous, I assumed it was just a nervous reaction, but sometimes this would make me smile and laugh at the most inappropriate moments, which would often get me into trouble. I remember being in school assembly and the headmaster was telling a tragic story about someone who had died and I could not help smiling and was trying to stop myself from laughing, even though I really didn't want to, but I couldn't help myself and the more that I tried to stop, the more difficult it became to stop myself from breaking out into a smile and laughter. Has this ever happened to you?

"Trouble knocked at the door, but, hearing laughter, hurried away."
- Benjamin Franklin
The strange one to me is when I smile when I am angry, I feel hot, burning with anger, yet my mouth still smiles, and it feels weird. I have spoken with psychiatrists to try and understand this and together we have worked out, that when I was a child growing up in West Sussex in the late 60's and 70's, which was a very white, middle class, conservative stronghold and at the time had very few people of colour living there. At school I was an only child and the only person of colour until I reached the age of 13 when another family, the Williamson's, where the father was Scottish and mother was Kenyan moved into the area and attended my school. I would suffer racist remarks, abuse and jokes on a daily basis. Before the Williamson's moved into the area I had been on my own, pretty small and if I took umbrage to every derogatory comment I received, I would be fighting and in trouble constantly. So I learnt to smile and laugh off the unfunny, racist jokes and abuse I had to endure, whereas the boys from the Williamson family would take offence and get into fights and trouble all the time and would get punished by the school.

The school and authorities never had the wisdom or insight to look into the fact that the boys and probably their sisters, along with me were getting continuously racially abused. So I learnt at a young age, that my defence mechanism to racial abuse was to smile. When I grew up to become a young man, I would confront the abuse head on, but that would not always have a positive outcome, so as I have grown older and hopefully wiser I have learnt when in these situations it is best to smile and control my anger through my breathing. Unfortunately I have had to do a lot since living in Scotland for the last three years, because I have experienced a level of racism that I have not had to endure since the late 70's early 80's in England and have had little protection from the legal system. Unfortunately racism is still prevalent, everywhere in the world, as demonstrated by the Chelsea supporters in the incident on the Paris Metro last week, by the police in the states and the atrocious beheadings by Muslim extremist terrorists, so the need for us to smile at each other has never been more important as it is today.

As you may have gathered by now I have studied the reasons to smile and the effects it can have pretty deeply and through this delving for more knowledge and answers for the reasons why I smile so much, has led me to discover the numerous physical and physiological health benefits smiling offers.

Scientific research has shown that there are a number of health benefits contributed to smiling and laughing. In addition to improved health, these simple facial expressions and common human behaviors can have a distinctive positive affect on all areas of your life. When you smile and laugh, a number of physiological changes occur in your body, mostly without you being consciously aware of it happening.

7 Benefits of Smiling and Laughing

1. Smiling Makes You Happy.
When you are feeling down try to smile. Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released when you smile. These are triggered by the movements of the muscles in your face, which is interpreted by your brain, which in turn releases these chemicals. Studies have shown that, as well as endorphins, smiling releases natural painkillers and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.

2. Smiling Reduces Stress.
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you'll be better able to take action. Endorphins are responsible for making us feel happy and they also help lower stress levels. Faking a smile or laugh works as well as the real thing-the brain doesn't differentiate between real or fake as it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles in the same way.

The more we stimulate our brain to release this chemical the more often we feel happier and relaxed. While the release of endorphins is increased, the stress hormone cortisol is reduced. Cortisol is more active when we feel stressed or anxious and contributes to the unpleasant feelings we experience, and by lowering it we can reduce these negative feelings.

3. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
If you're a person suffering from high blood pressure (hypertension), then it's recommended that you smile a lot more. When you smile, you should see a marked reduction in your blood pressure.

If you have a blood pressure monitor, then you can prove this response. Sit for a little while, and read. Smile for a few minutes, and then read while still smiling. Then measure your blood pressure with your blood pressure monitor. You should notice that your blood pressure has gone down measurably.

4. Laughing Can Release Emotions.
A good laugh can help you release emotions, especially those emotions that you might bottle up inside. Everything looks that little bit better after a good laugh and life can be seen from a more positive perspective. Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. The facial feedback hypothesis states that facial movement can influence emotional experience.

5. Smiling Makes Us Look Younger And Live longer
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don't go for a face-lift, just try smiling your way through the day -- you'll look younger and feel better.

Those who smile are thought to live an average of 79.9 years, while partial smilers live an average of 75 years, and non-smilers live an average of 72.9 years.

The only conclusion to be reached from this is to smile every day.

6. Smiling Makes Us More Attractive And Appear More Successful
We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good.

When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others and make everyone happy.

Smile lots and you will draw people to you and make you appear more approachable. Interaction with others is easier and more enjoyable when smiles and laughs are shared.

Smiling people appear more confident and are more likely to be promoted. Go into meetings and appointments with a smile on your face and people will react to you differently.

This is particularly true for job interviews: a smiling, relaxed persona indicates confidence and an ability to cope well in stressful situations. This will also be of benefit in your career, building healthy relationships with colleagues and being seen in a favourable light by your employers

7. Smiling Is Contagious
One of the simple social pleasures of life, which goes almost unnoticed because it's automatic, is when you smile at someone and they smile back.

Smiling is contagious, making others feel better too, and make you a more appealing and attractive person to be around, this in turn has a positive effect on your well-being.

"If you only have one smile in you give it to the people you love. "
- Maya Angelou

7 Day Action Plan

1. Smile at everyone you meet.

2. Note how many people smile back.

3. If you feel down make yourself smile.

4. Note how you feel.

5. Let me know how you get on or on our Facebook page?

A happy, positive expression will serve you well in life.

Be Healthy, Happy and Wise

Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living The Dream

Keep on Winning, Smiling and Living The Dream


Steve Agyei,
Editor - Beyond Lifestyle Secrets
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