Fake or real: keep smiling

For 20 years, I have been writing an upbeat aging column called “This Side of 60.”
And in those 20 years, I’ve tried to summarize the best of what researchers and experts had to say, as well as sharing some basic common sense suggestions.
After I write a column, I consciously try to follow my own advice. But sometimes, it’s hard. I forget, or I don’t want to make the commitment.
Then other times, it’s easy.
Last week’s column was one of the times it was easy. The title of the column was “Six reasons to keep smiling.”
Six very good reasons! Such as smiling promotes health and attractiveness, keeps you happier, and perhaps can help lengthen life.
I wrote that even a “fake smile” can accomplish the same things. Something the smile experts insist works.
So, last week I followed the advice of the experts. Every time I felt downhearted, I would force myself to turn up the corners of my mouth—even if I had to help with my fingertips.
Amazing! It works! You simply can’t feel dejected and despondent when you are smiling–fake or real.
For one thing, it was so ludicrous that I usually began laughing. Not fake laughter, but “real” laughter. And I felt better right away.
For “laughter therapy” is even more helpful than “smile therapy.”
“Laughter is the human gift for coping and for survival,” says laughtertherapy.com
“Laughter ringing, laughter pealing, laughter roaring, laughter bubbling. Chuckling. Giggling. Snickering. Snorting. These are the sounds of soul-saving laughter,” the website adds.
“Soul-saving laughter.” Just think about a really good laugh, and what it can do for your emotional and physical health.
In the first place, it makes you feel good inside. It even may fend off a case of late-season “winter blues.”
Laughter does everything a smile does, but more so. Think of these things:
1). Laughter lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress. And recent research shows it lowers cholesterol.
2). Laughter improves blood circulation, which even can affect your brain.
3). Laughter can reduce pain. Laughter therapy is used for cancer patents and other patients with severe pain.
4). And like a smile, it makes you more physically and socially attractive.
So, if you want more friends, laugh!
Mark Twain once said, “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”
Why not use this powerful weapon–“fake” or “real.” Just laugh. Laugh out loud, laugh by yourself. Laugh with other people.
And remember, laughter is contagious!
Most important of all: remember to laugh as you age. Sometimes it seems that older people forget the skill of laughter—just when they need it most.
Life is hard, but don’t give in. Instead, turn the corners of your mouth up and let the laughter begin.
No matter how hard your circumstances are, don’t ever, ever forget how to laugh. Smiling and laughing can keep you young and healthy.
Always remember what Mark Twain said a century ago, “He who laughs, lasts.”
And I also may add, “He or she who laughs also has more fun!”
So, laugh right now! You will feel better right away.
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@cox.net

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