Belly Laugh Day, observed on January 24, is a celebration of the great gift of laughter. As the saying goes, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter causes the lining of the blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow. This makes you feel more positive and happy and can give a boost to the immune system. Laughter reduces stress and increases the production of chemicals that help you relax. So seize the day, and have yourself a good, deep belly laugh.
Smiling and wrinkles
There’s a belief floating around that smiling can worsen wrinkles. This is likely sourced from the fact that smiling causes the formation of nasolabial folds. These are skin folds running from your nose to the corners of the mouth. When a person is young, the elasticity of the skin allows the folds to bounce back so they disappear after smiling. But as people age, the skin begins to change, resulting in less fat, less elasticity, muscle atrophy, and other conditions, which result in the folds no longer fading away.
Thus, you may be afraid of smiling too much, but we encourage you to consider the fact that the positive health effects of smiling and laughing can far outweigh the drawbacks of “smile lines.” And remember that frowning can cause wrinkles, too. If it comes down to a smile line or frown line, the choice should be easy. One is a lot more fun to earn.
The Case for Smiling and Laughing
Suppressing feelings—even happy ones—can be detrimental to emotional health. Conversely, it has been shown that positive thoughts, together with the expression of those thoughts, make a person happier.
Furthermore, smiling and laughing are likely to give you a positive response from others. In general, when you smile at others, they smile back. This creates a wholesome feedback loop that brings more cheer into your life and (bonus) into the lives of others as well. If you do make a habit of suppressing your smiles and laughter, you will likely come off as emotionless, unapproachable, and sour looking.
There are lots of things you can do to arrest the signs of aging, but we don’t recommend avoiding smiling in your quest to do so. Even a few extra wrinkles are a small price to pay for inner joy.