Average Reading Time: 1 minute and 44 seconds
Don’t miss the airing of my interview with Dr. Rich Castellano, “The Transformational Power of the Smile.” It is guaranteed to make you smile, chuckle or maybe burst out laughing — and why not? A good laugh is loaded with health benefits! One study on laughter suggested that it would be appropriate for laughter to be used as a complementary/alternative medicine in the prevention and treatment of illnesses. (1)
In another study, a good grin and some laughter may reduce stress and improve immune function by boosting NK (natural killer) cell activity. Low NK cell activity is linked to decreased disease resistance and increased death rate in individuals with cancer and HIV disease. Laughter may be a useful cognitive-behavioral intervention. (2) So let’s start smiling more!
While there is ample clinical evidence on the physical and emotional health benefits of joy, happiness and laughter, there is also ample room for more science in this area. That said, since there are no negative side effects from a big smile and laughter… why not break a smile?
There are some studies that suggest it can help reduce stress and pain and to improve healing. (3) Findings suggest that laughter delivers a stress-relief effect, brings about feelings of being uplifted or fulfilled (3), and leads to immediate increases in heart rate, respiratory rate, respiratory depth and oxygen consumption. (3) These increases are then followed by a period of muscle relaxation, with a corresponding decrease in heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure — all measures of a major stress relief! (3)
A Life-Saving Smile
In my podcast, Dr. Castellano told me a story about Don Ritchie aka the Australian Angel, who has reportedly saved over 160 lives with a simple smile and an offer to have tea. Don lives close to an ocean cliff called “The Gap” in Sydney, which sadly has become infamous for people committing suicide off of. When Don would see a distraught individual headed towards The Gap he would walk out to them and offer them a smile and an invitation for tea and breakfast. His simple joyful and sincere demeanor has brought many hundreds back from the brink of death.
A sincere smile can change your chemistry and the chemistry of those around you for the better. When we see a pretty smile, we cannot help but smile back. When two smiles meet, the emotional armor melts, a feeling of safety, trust and natural joy ensues. According to Dr. Castellano, a smile is the key to a joyful, successful and healthy life.