Today is World Smile Day, smile despite everything – Medicine

(ANSA) – ROME, OCTOBER 07 – The expensive bills, the war in Ukraine, the fears of a hypothetical nuclear escalation, the Covid pandemic. The reasons to smile, in this historical moment, would seem to be few, yet today it is almost an imperative. It is World Smile Day, the day of smiles, which is celebrated every year on the first Friday of October. It was conceived in 1999 by Harvey Ball, father of the smile, who became an icon but was born as a logo for an insurance company.
Do an act of kindness, help a person smile: this is the theme of World Smile Day every year, the original challenge launched by Ball himself when he created the first World Smile Day. Obviously, it was long before social media. Today, in addition to feeling better after smiling someone, you can share the satisfaction of having collected and won the #worldsmiledaychallenge, the smile challenge, on social networks. The benefits of a smile are many. When we smile, the brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight stress. Then other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphins also come into play. Endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, while serotonin is an antidepressant. One study even suggests that smiling can help us recover from stress faster and reduce heart rate. In fact, it might even be worth making an effort to smile and see how it goes. The smile, then, is contagious: just think of how rewarded we feel when we see someone else smiling. Our brain’s reward center gets activated and makes us feel a little better. Additionally, a Swedish study suggests that we can’t help but react with a smile when we see someone smiling, so it’s a vicious circle of widespread happiness. Never forget, then, that smiles strengthen immunity and increase white blood cell counts, which protect against infections. Finally, smiling could help keep blood pressure low, after initially increasing heart rate and breathing, and not least makes us look younger. (HANDLE).

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