Today, choose to smile in spite of an unfortunate situation.

Life is a journey, a journey that involves neverending highs and lows. And while it would be ideal to only experience the joy that comes with the highs, there will always be unexpected challenges that will derail our happy train.

When our joy is threatened, we’re always left with a simple choice: to smile in spite of opposition and learn how to best move forward, or let those challenges diminish our joyful spirit. Joy in the journey is key to a happy, healthy, long-lived life.

Nothing can take your happiness because happiness is found within.

Like a tree whose fruit is taken or limb is cut, it keeps happily growing. It doesn’t think twice, it immediate moves on and continues to grow.

20 Healthy Reasons to Smile

While forced smiles aren’t ideal, they have been proven to stimulate a state of being that is more inclined to smile naturally. And when we put on a smile, things will naturally arise to continue to smile about.

So in honor of today being Day 20 of our 30 Days of Health Series, here are 20 Reason to put on a healthy, healing smile.

  1. When we smile, the world smiles back. Not only are smiles contagious, but they transform the world around us both in how we see things, and how people see us.
  2. Smiling relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  3. Smiling boosts the immune system. When we smile, we decrease stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies which improves our resistance to disease.
  4. Smiling triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  5. Smiling protects the heart by improving the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
  6. Smiling burns calories, especially when it leads to laughter. It’s no replacement for strenuous physical movement, but one study found that laughing for 10 to 15 minutes a day can burn about 40 calories—which could be enough to lose three or four pounds over the course of a year.
  7. Smiling lightens anger’s heavy load. Nothing diffuses anger and conflict faster than a shared smile. When we choose to look at the funny side, we put issues into perspective and helps anyone involved to move on from confrontations without holding onto bitterness or resentment.
  8. Smiling helps us live longer. Studies show that people with a strong sense of humor outlived those who don't laugh as much.
  9. Smiling stops distressing emotions. Try to feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re smiling. It’s really hard.
  10. Smiling helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling us to stay focused and accomplish more.
  11. Smiling shifts perspective, allowing us to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help to avoid overwhelming feels and diffuse conflict.
  12. Smiling draws us closer to one and other. Which can have a profound effect on all aspects of our mental and emotional health.
  13. Smiling helps us be spontaneous. Humor gets us out of our head and away from our troubles which makes us more inclined to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.
  14. Smiling lets go of defensiveness. Laughter helps us forget resentments, judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
  15. Smiling releases inhibitions by helping us set aside our fear of holding back and holding on.
  16. Smiling helps express true feelings, by allowing deeply felt emotions to rise to the surface.
  17. Smiling cultivates wonder. When someone sees you smiling, they look around for what is it you’re happy about. Chances are, they’ll find something that resonates with them and crack a smile of their own.
  18. Smiling is easier. It takes 62 muscles to frown, and just 26 to smile.
  19. Smiling is cross-cultural. No matter the communication barrier, a smile is always understood and well received.
  20. Smiling is a virtuous cycle. Just as gratitude invites more things in our life to be grateful for, so too does smiling increase our chances of experiences all the reasons why one should smile … and beyond.