Many studies have shown that regular exercise and a healthy diet are the keys to living a long life but experts have said that smiling can also give the same benefit.
Anand Chockalingam, a cardiologist at the University of Missouri Health Care is now telling his patients to smile more.
“When we smile, the brain wiring is altered,” said Chockalingam. “The chemicals that are released are more positive.”
Smiling is the first step to overcome stress and also its potential negative effects, he said.
The heart specialist said that as stress may lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol abuse, overeating, and physical inactivity, it can increase blood pressure and damage arteries which leads to heart disease.
“Once people smile, they are relaxing. This relaxation directly lowers blood pressure and improves sugar levels in the blood,” said Chockalingam.
Chockalingam also advised his patients to sit quietly for at least five minutes a day and think of something pleasant.
Making time for rest and meditation can lead to mindfulness which he said will lead to better heart health.