Tag Archives: lower blood pressure

10 Health Benefits of Smiling

laughter-1120282-mDo you ever catch yourself scowling or frowning? When I am stressed, feeling overwhelmed or just in a bad mood, I notice that I tend to have a sour look on my face. I seem to spend a lot of time in a mood – and it most likely isn’t a good one.

We recently wrote a blog called the 9 Truths About Your Mood. While external factors may impact your mood, you have the power to control how you react to them. You can choose to have a positive attitude.

Even if you don’t feel like it, try smiling. You can smile for your health, to reduce stress and to look and feel better.

Here are 10 reasons to simply smile:

Lower your heart rate
Smiling slows down your heart rate and helps relax your body. That means your heart isn’t working as hard. Smiling also reduces your blood pressure temporarily.

Reduce stress and anxiety
Stress can show up on your face. You can usually tell when someone is upset or anxious. Stress relief may be as easy as smiling a little more throughout the day. You also look more relaxed and energized.

Release endorphins
Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and lower stress hormones. Endorphins can improve your mood. When you’re feeling down, put a smile on your face. Even if it’s not genuine at first, you can trick your body into helping change your mood.

Be more attractive
A smile makes you more attractive. You look friendly, personable and approachable. Someone is more likely to start a conversation with you if you’re smiling.

Make friends
If you want to make friends or attract the opposite sex, try a smile. Studies show that people are more willing to approach and talk to others who are smiling. A smile tells people you want to interact with them.

Strengthen your immune system
Smiling makes your immune system function better. Your immune system becomes stronger by making your body produce white blood cells that fight illness. You may be able to prevent colds and the flu by smiling.

Build confidence
If you’re feeling nervous or worried, put on a smile. You will appear more confident, and in turn, you will feel more confident. If you’re going to a meeting or appointment, people will perceive you as calm and collected and react to you differently when you smile.

Increase productivity
There may be some truth in the “whistle while you work” concept. Smiling has been shown to increase productivity while you’re performing a task. Having personal items that make you smile in your workspace may motivate you to work harder.

Look younger
When you smile, you use muscles that lift your face and help you appear younger. Studies show a smile can make you look three years younger on average. Smile your way through the day, and you’ll look younger while improving your mood.

Live longer
Smiling can extend past how you look on the outside. People who smile more may even live longer. Studies have shown that those who spend more time smiling may live up to 7 years longer. Smiling releases stress, improves your heart and boosts immunity – all of which keep you healthy longer.

So, make it a habit to smile throughout the day, even when you may not feel like it. You can improve your mood and your health. Plus, smiles are contagious – you can lift someone else’s spirits, too!

12 health benefits of listening to music

Listen to music improve health life balanceIt’s official – I have turned into my parents. I recently yelled at my kids to turn the music down because it was making my head hurt.

After the horror of realizing I am getting old, I started thinking about the possible benefits of music. I like listening to music while I’m driving, cleaning house and doing dishes. I just can’t handle it loud anymore.

Listening to music is one of the few activities that uses your whole brain. It can put you in a good mood and lift your spirits. You may have very specific memories associated with certain songs. When you’re watching a movie, the soundtrack can make you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action.

You may be surprised to learn that there are many health benefits to enjoying music. Here are 12 ways music can help you live a healthier, more balanced life:

Lower your blood pressure
Listening to relaxing music may help people with high blood pressure lower it and keep it that way. To experience results, research recipients played relaxing music every morning and every evening.

Reduce pain
Music has been found to help with pain management for both chronic pain and post-operative pain. Music therapy is being used in hospitals to reduce the need for medication during childbirth, to complement anesthesia in surgery and for lessening pain after surgery.

Improve your workout
Listening to music during exercise can give you a better workout. It may help you increase your endurance, distract you from feeling discomfort and elevate your mood while you workout.

Boost immunity
Stress can cause your body to produce the stress-related hormone cortisol and decrease your immune response. Music, on the other hand, can create positive emotions that cause you to secrete immune-boosting hormones. Listening to music or singing can actually boost your immunity and reduce the factors that can make you more prone to getting sick.

Relieve chronic headaches
If you experience chronic headaches or migraines, music may help you reduce the frequency, severity and length of your headaches.

Enhance your IQ
Research has shown that listening to music can actually help you learn more effectively, in essence making you smarter and enhancing your overall level of intelligence.

Step up your coordination
Music may have the power to improve your coordination. It can reduce muscle tension and improve your body movement. Music may even help improve recovery after a stroke or provide relief from other movement disorders.

Improve your focus
Believe it or not, music may help you concentrate better and improve your focus. I guess I shouldn’t tell my kids to turn off the radio while they are doing their homework.

Strengthen your heart
Music is good for your heart health. It seems that upbeat, happy music can improve the flow of blood through blood vessels. It can also help you relax, which is always good for your heart.

Boost your memory
For people suffering from memory loss, listening to music may help these patients remember things associated with their past. We process music in an area of our brain that is located next to memory. That’s why a song or certain tune can trigger intense memories of an event that may have happened decades ago.

Lower your stress level
We’ve already touched on the fact that music helps relieve anxiety. Your favorite music can be soothing and helping you relax. Music is good for the mind, body and soul.

Sleep better
Mom singing you a lullaby can actually help you sleep. Music can even help people with chronic insomnia get a better night’s sleep. If you experience chronic pain or have recently had surgery, music can promote sedation for a more deep and restful sleep.

Is there a type of music that’s best for receiving all of these healthy benefits? It really depends on the person and the situation. You may want fast-tempo, upbeat music for exercising, and then slower-paced music to de-stress and relax. Playing old favorites can boost your mood, while playing new songs may stimulate your brain.

Music tastes are unique to each of us. Go with your instincts and listen to what makes you happy. What types of music make you feel good?