In this series of articles we’ve been looking at important health habits that are low cost or no cost with significant payback.

These wellness practices range from eating a low sugar diet, making sure vitamin D3 levels are in the 40 to 60 ng/ml level, learning how to focus your mind, and getting adequate sleep especially if you are a night owl or live with a night owl.

“When you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you.” When Louie Armstrong sang that song you couldn’t help but smile and feel better.

Current research indicates that smiling does more than make you feel better. Smiling actually makes you better. Smiling has a strong connection with your general health and well-being. Smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Smiling gives you a natural high.

Smiling also boosts your immune system.

People who are smilers have fewer colds and flu, and report overall general good health.

Want to lower your blood pressure? Feeling stressed out? Take a smile break.

Want to look younger and more attractive to others? Smile.

Smiling is contagious.

Ever notice how someone can enter a room with a smile and everyone’s mood lightens. Babies and children are smiling light bulbs and we should take advantage of what they have to show us about being happy, connecting with others, and smiling.

It seems to follow that when you’re smiling with a sense of well being, that socially you’ll be in demand.

People who smile more often have a positive effect on their environment and are more likely to have supportive long-term relationships. Research shows that wait staff who smile get bigger tips than those who don’t smile. Even if someone can’t see you smiling, they can hear your smile over the phone by the tone in your voice.

Smiling can also help you stay positive.

Try to think of something negative or say something negative with a smile. Not so easy, is it? A smile sends our body endorphins along with a message that we’re walking on the sunny side of the street, helping to dispel negativity.

Smiling helps us look and feel more confident.

Our confidence creates situations where people want to interact with us and see things our way.

Practice smiling. In a discussion about the most important information you learned in school, my mother related this advice she got from her home economics teacher who gave high school students a lesson on walking properly.

“Smile! Chin up! Tummy in! is perhaps the best advice I ever learned,” my mother told me. “If you’re feeling down, simply walk around the block with a smile, your chin up, your tummy in, and when you come back around, everything is better.”

Being positive is a choice we make that affects our personal health and the well being of those around us.

Smile, and the whole world smiles with you. Perhaps your health savings account might smile, too.

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