On average, children smile and laugh approximately 400 times a day. An adult, on the other hand, averages only 15 smiles per day. Somewhere in the process of growing up we seem to lose our ability to smile. This may seem a small silly thing to most of you but it is actually very important to your health.
In a study of California’s Loma Linda University, Doctor Tan and Doctor Berk have discovered an important connection between your facial expression and your immune system. Under stress or when you are frowning, your body produces cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can damage and/or reduce your body’s ability to fight off disease. Conversely when you smile or laugh your body produces endorphins and neurotransmitters. These hormones not only make us feel good but they actually give the body’s immune system a boost. Smiling and laughing can actually keep you healthy.
I call laughter my “life preserver” in the Sea of Life. I try to find the humor in everything. Once I was in a terrible traffic accident. My face was crushed and torn. Covered in blood I woke up in the hospital. A nurse, I had never seen before, came over and looked down on what had once been my face. With pity she gave a little smile and said, “Oh, you are awake”. I looked up and mumbled through the blood and broken teeth, “We are going to have to stop meeting like this, my wife is getting suspicious”.
No matter how bad things are they can always be worse. Find the humor or the absurd in everything. By being able to laugh at yourself and at life, you will live longer and enjoy it more. Nothing is more important than you make it.
In a different study, by Doctor Holden in England, it was discovered that the body does not know when you are “faking” it. As long as there is a smile on your face the body “thinks” you are happy and produces the good hormones. That is why when you see me around Dumaguete I have a big silly grin on my face. It is not that I am actually happy; I just want to fool my body into being the healthiest it can be. Seriously, learn to smile and laugh, be your own everyday hero and live long and happy here in paradise.