Roger Harty: Smile, It’s Good For You

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IF we want to get on in life, which I’m sure any rational thinking person does, then it is very obvious that we should do things that are of benefit to us.

Yes, I know I’m being a little pedantic when I say we should exercise daily, watch what we eat and drink, get plenty of rest and sleep, but did you know that smiling on a regular basis is very  good for your health?

So if smiling (laughter) is good for our health, that would suggest that lack of smiling is therefore equally (ergo) bad for our health if done on a regular basis.

I unfold this logic even further and to make my case, we have to return yet again to the origins of prehistoric man in the way our bodies operate.

To this effect, in your mind enter into a dark and dangerous forest that was home to ferocious wild animal circa 10,000 years ago. You are being attacked by one of these sabre toothed tigers for example.

I ask one question; Would you be laughing or smiling?

The answer is obvious — No.

The reason is also obvious. We do not laugh/smile in the presence of serious danger.

Now move back to modern living. When we do not laugh/ smile on a regular basis, then our body interprets that as danger being present, whether we like it or not or more importantly whether it is there or not.

That in turn causes the body to go into fight or flight mode, thus releasing all the chemicals necessary to keep us in that zone.

If this is repeated on a regular basis, then that in turn puts the body under pressure as it cannot sustain the constant supply of these said chemicals.

These chemicals are referred to in medical terms as the ‘stress chemicals’ adrenaline and noradrenaline. These become depleted (body stress), which in turn will result in ill-health.

The reverse is also true. If we smile we are sending messages to the body that there is absence of wild dangerous animals which in turn sends calm presence.

Thus there is no depletion in the above mentioned hormones which can only be of benefit to our health.

So smile and smile often. If nothing else, it is good for your health.

This has been recognised for centuries. It is recognised as a whole healthbody/philosophy in its own right and is why we often hear of the existence of communes of laughing monks in places like Tibet and far off Eastern lands.

Also pay attention to the old adage, laughter is the greatest medicine.

How true!

• Next week I am going to write about — Lila

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