Having a happy disposition affects how long you live, up to 7 years longer than grumpy folk.
Researchers at Wayne Statue University in Michigan looked at 230 pictures of major league baseball players from 1952. They categorized the pictures according to how much they were smiling and their laugh lines. They then looked at life expectancy.
Players who were in the ‘no smile’ category lived about 72.9 years compared to those with had the biggest grins who lived 7 years longer to an average age of 79.9. Remarkable how a slice in time from someone’s life (a mere snapshot) was adept at predicting longevity.
Laughter and smiling are universal. We learn to laugh before we learn to walk or talk.
The ancient Greeks were onto this when they built their hospitals beside the theatres. They knew that patients got better faster if they watched comedies while they were convalescing.
Today we call it bio-psychoimmunology – a mouthful meaning our brains aren’t nearly as smart as we think they are. Laugh or smile even when you don’t feel like it and the benefits to your psyche and your body are the same. Your brain can’t tell when your laugh is real or not and regardless, releases a flood of hormones that make you feel better, lowers your blood pressure, massages your internal organs and more.
Sobering if it weren’t so funny. The old adage ‘put on a happy face’ has some merit after all.