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Doing This One Thing Adds Years to Your Life

Recent studies have shown that doing this one thing can add years to a person’s life and is an accurate prediction of how fulfilling their marriage will be. What is this magic elixir? A smile.

Smiling has truly remarkable effects. First, doing it actually makes you feel good even if you're not feeling good in the moment. A 2009 MRI study demonstrated conclusively that the brain's happiness circuitry is activated when you smile (regardless of your current mood). If you're down, smiling actually prompts your brain to produce feel-good hormones.

Smiling is also a predictor of longevity. In a 2010 study, researchers looked at Major League baseball card photos from 1952. They found that the span of a player's smile actually predicted his lifespan--unsmiling players lived 72.9 years on average, while beaming players lived a full seven years longer.

Similarly, a 30-year study out of UC Berkeley examined the smiles of students in an old yearbook, with almost spooky results. The width of students' smiles turned out to be accurate predictors of how high their standardized tests of happiness would be, how inspiring others would find them, even how fulfilling their marriages would end up. Those with the biggest smiles came up on top in all the rankings.

Where do you stack up when it comes to smiling? Know this: under 14% of us smile fewer than five times a day. Over 30% of us smile over 20 times a day. And there's one group that absolutely dominates, with as many as 400 smiles a day: children.

So, there you have it: smiling makes you feel good, makes you look good, and gets you a better marriage in the end. Seems like something to smile about.

Possible Preaching Angles:

As always, God’s Word is years ahead of modern research. We read that “a joyful heart is good medicine” (Prov. 17:22), the “joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh. 8:10), and “though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible …” (1 Pet. 1:8).


Melanie Curtin, “Neuroscience Says Doing This 1 Thing Makes You Just as Happy as Eating 2,000 Chocolate Bars,” Inc. (8-29-17)

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