Adding extra years to your life is something to smile about

Smile and you’ll live longer.

BIG smile? Longer still.

Wayne State University researchers collected photos of 230 Major League Baseball players who started their careers before 1950. Independent reviewers, who were not aware of the study’s purpose, categorized the photos, sorting each into one of three groups: non-smilers, smilers, and big smilers.

When the smile rankings were matched against each player’s lifespan, researchers found a very strong link between smiling and longevity.

These were the average lifespans:

  • Non-smilers: 72.9
  • Smilers: 75
  • Big smilers: 79.9

Of course, this doesn’t offer proof that a frequent smile will actually help you live longer. But consider this: Some Zen Buddhists believe that starting off every morning with a good long laugh is equal to the calming effect of several hours of meditation. And studies have shown that smiling or laughing prompts the release of endorphins and serotonin– brain chemicals that improve mood.

No guarantees a smile will add seven years to your life, but you know what they say: at least people will wonder what you’ve been up to.

“Big Smiles, Longer Lives?” Kathleen Doheny, HealthDay News, 3/26/10,

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