Never mind pricey anti-ageing creams, a simple smile could have you looking several years younger in an instant, a new study has revealed.
German researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, found that smiley, happy people were more attractive and had a more youthful appearance than their solemn counterparts.
The study asked 150 men and women to guess the ages of the faces from over 1,000 photographs and found that while neutral facial expressions generated the most accurate age guesses, happy faces were voted as the youngest looking.
"Facial expression has a substantial impact on accuracy," says Manuel Voelkle from the study. "Those displaying happy expressions were most likely underestimated."
The reasons behind the findings, published in the Psychology and Aging journal, is apparently down to how many wrinkles or 'laughter lines' a person has, as it makes it harder to guess their age.
Researchers also discovered that older people were more likely to overestimate a person's age, whereas younger people were kinder and shaved a few years off. Female faces fared better and were judged as looking up to three years younger than men.
These findings follow a recent study from the London University College, which found that being happy and cheerful could reduce your risk of premature death by 35%.
Little can compare to the feeling of a deep, heartfelt laughing fit, so find out how being chirpy and full of laughter can enhance your health and well being (and even your love life)
Laughter not only makes you feel good, but it helps boost your immune system too. The Department of Clinical Immunology at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, found that laughter decreases serum cortisol levels (stress chemicals), increases T lymphocytes (white blood cells that play a key role in immunity), and increases the number of natural killer cells. These results suggest that laughter stimulates the immune system and ultimately makes you healthier.
A study by a Canadian University found that laughter makes you more attractive to the opposite sex. The study found that smiley people seem more approachable, plus when you laugh, your blood supply increases, causing a rosy glow to the skin, making it appear more youthful and appealing to look at.
Researchers at Oxford University found that laughter can act as an effective pain reliever. Laughter release the feel-good chemical endorphin and it acted like pain relief to the participants. The study also found that chuckling helped increased pain threshold.
According to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, laughter, along with an active sense of humor, could help protect you against a heart attack. The study found that people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. Another study by Dr. William Fry, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Stanford University, compared laughter to "inner jogging," and claimed that laughing 100 times a day is the equivalent of 10 minutes of rowing. The study also found that laughter increases the heart rate, improves blood circulation, and works muscles all over the body.
A study by Loma Linda Universityfound that ''mirthful laughter'' reduces the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines, much the same way that moderate physical exercise does. They also found that a good belly laugh positively effected two hormones that regulate appetite, leptin and ghrelin, meaning it could also help decrease appetite.