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Smile for Life

Emotions can affect the immune system and longevity, and your facial expression can affect and reflect your emotions. Consider a simple smile. According to an article in the July/August ’10 Well-Being Journal, people who use the muscles near the corners of their mouth and those around the eyes are called “Duchenne smilers”—or sincere, genuine smilers. Researchers from Wayne State University in Michigan linked smile intensity to longevity. Scientists trained to analyze smiles looked at photographs of 230 major league baseball players from the 1952 season. They classified each as nonsmilers, Duchenne smilers or non-Duchenne smilers. Of the players who were deceased, Duchenne smilers tended to have lived the longest, followed by non-Duchenne smilers. Also, 70 percent of the Duchenne smilers had lived to age 80, while only 50 percent of the nonsmilers had lived that long.

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