Experts say smiling leads to a healthier life

By Kierstin Vermeulen

Photo by Nathan Rennich

Photo by Nathan Rennich

Of the thousands of students at the University of Maryland overwhelmed with the college lifestyle, many do not realize that something as simple as a smile is a routine way to stay positive.

“When someone has a big smile, it shows they’re willing to open up and expose a part of themselves,” said Pamela McClain, DDS, President of the American Academy of Periodontology.

Smiling has proven to have certain health benefits that can be beneficial mentally, physically, and socially. According to webmd.com, even forcing a smile can turn a bad mood around and make someone feel happier.

Freshman letters and sciences student Margaret Brooks said she “smiles throughout the day all the time because it brings up [her] mood and [she] feels like smiling is contagious.”

Instead of spreading the common cold around this winter, Margaret said she suggests spreading around a smile, something that promotes happiness and warmth on the frigid campus.

Unmotivated students should try smiling when they need inspiration to do their schoolwork.

Reports show that smiling has been proven to increase productivity while performing tasks, according to sunwarrior.com.

When students need a boost of energy, smiling can help them feel happy and stay awake, sophomore letters and sciences student Alexis Talia said.

Smiling also has social benefits. People who smile more often seem more welcoming and outgoing, making it easier to expand your social circle.

Many students say that a genuine smile has made people seem more trusting.

“I smile pretty much when I’m around other people, and smiling is just kind of a natural reflex,” sophomore communications major Caroline Myers said. “It makes me feel friendly and that I’m more approachable to people.”

Students find that constant communication with friends allow them to smile the entire day.

“They always say something that’ll make me laugh,” freshman letters and sciences student Kyla Young said. “Some of my professors even have good senses of humor and make me laugh during class as well.”

Smiling can also boost confidence – another way to enhance a social circle. This can be helpful when applying for a job or running for a position on student government.

The social benefits of smiling may be obvious to students, but the health benefits sometimes aren’t as recognizable.

Smiling uses cheek muscles that can make you look up to three years younger if used regularly.

Smiling also has the ability to increase your lifespan for seven more years, according to sunwarrior.com.

A genuine smile can help lower the heart rate and relax the body too. It reduces the rate for heart disease and releases endorphins that reduce stress hormones.

Just by a adding a simple smile to your face, you can promote a good, positive lifestyle and attitude.

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