Why smiling could help you live longer

Smile...as it could add an extra seven years to your life, says a new study

It takes 46 muscles to frown and only 17 to smile, but now psychologists are telling us that grinning can add an extra seven years to our lives as well.

According to experts, a happy disposition and positive outlook on life can have a powerful impact on health.

Researchers from Wayne State University, Michigan, looked at 230 pictures of major league baseball players from 1952. They found that the biggest grinners lived to an average of 79.9 years, while their straight-faced peers reached just 72.9 years on average.

Commenting on the findings, chartered psychologist Sandy Gaskins says: ‘A positive attitude to life really helps. Every thought we have affects a feeling, so if we’re positive about life we’re much more likely to eat healthily, exercise more and invest in relationships.

‘Negative people tend to have poorer social support networks.’

So smiling makes a difference, but faking doesn’t count. The study, published in the Journal Psychological Science, found extra life expectancy was only seen in those who were genuinely happy, as opposed to those who forced it.

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