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  • Wendy Elzinga

Did you know that smiling can boost your immune system?

Yep, it's true, laughter and smiling can actually reduce the stressors that negatively impact your immune system a study by WebMD says.


Since we are living in stressful times, and since having a healthy immune system is of high importance, it is beneficial to do what you can within your sphere of control to boost your immunity. We don't talk about this enough. I have been researching the different health habits one can do to increase their immune system during this pandemic. We are inundated with ways to avoid spreading the virus, but not much is said about making our bodies as strong as possible to fight off the virus. And it turns out some research is pointing to laughter and humor as one of those ways to boost your immunity. So watch those comedies, see the humor in what could be a tense situation, laugh at the absurdities of life.


The act of smiling itself sends a signal to the brain that everything is ok. Smiling involves your muscles and your body pays close attention to what you muscles are doing in order to understand what is going on in your environment. When your muscles are tense you can activate the fight or flight response. Therefore the very act of relaxing your muscles signals the brain to turn off the stress alarms. When the brain senses a smile on your face a similar thing takes place. Smiling can actually start to turn around your mood if you are angry or upset.


One thing to be aware of though is a concept called smiling depression, while smiling can sometimes be used to help turn around a depressed mood, it can also be used to mask what is going on. Individuals who smile on the outside to hide what is going on the inside are often at higher risk for increased depression and sometimes even suicide. Because these individuals always appear happy, they often don't reach out for help and others don't think to offer it because they don't seem to need it. The difference is in the former you are aware of negative mood and stressors in your life and are using laughter, smiling or humor as a coping skill to reduce that.The later is often in denial or afraid to admit there is a negative mood or a problem to actually deal with.


So find reasons to experience joy in life. Don't let worry or stress rob you of your ability to find and enjoy humor and if you just can't seem to shake the depression or effects of stress please seek help from a good therapist or counselor that can work with you in your personal situation to cope with the pain or stress you may be dealing with.

This has been an exercise in writing for five minutes from the fiveminutefriday community. Join us in writing 5 minutes each Friday on a prompt.



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