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A simple smile goes a long way

Vegetables, exercise, water, vitamins – most people are familiar with the tried-and-true ingredients for good health and a long life. Well, here’s another you may not know about: Smiling.

Smiling benefits overall wellbeing and stimulates the brain, research shows.

Ron Gutman, founder and CEO of HealthTap, shed some light on the benefits of smiling during a TED Talk.

“Smiling is one of the most basic, biologically uniform expressions of all humans,” he said. “So from Papua New Guinea to Hollywood all the way to modern art in Beijing, we smile often, and use smiles to express joy and satisfaction.”

Citing research studies in the United States, France, Germany and elsewhere, Gutman discussed how smiling benefits overall wellbeing and stimulates the brain.

“Smiling can help reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine, increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and reduce overall blood pressure,” he said.

Smiling can also improve how others view you, Gutman explained.

“A recent study at Penn State University found that when you smile, you don’t only appear to be more likable and courteous, but you actually appear to be more competent.”

So by all means, eat your vegetables, exercise, drink plenty of water and take your vitamins, but perhaps the easiest way to feel great and live longer is simply to smile. Watch the full TED Talk here.

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