After hitting the first home run of the year for the Saints, Colin Salz is all smiles going back into the dugout with teammates waiting to greet him. (Ej Photo/ Colby Fossey)

By Dr. Kyle Burgmeier, Burgmeier Dentistry

Every year around this time, people are looking to make positive changes in their lives. Maybe it is spending more time with family, being more physically active, reading more books, finally finishing a project, or maybe it is to get more sleep; there is something about the new year that causes many of us to strive for self improvement. This is a great and under appreciated attribute we all express- the desire to be better versions of ourselves, to always be improving.

I would like to suggest one further resolution, one that takes very little effort and no time from your already busy schedules. Let’s all resolve to smile and laugh more in this new year. These two simple and minuscule acts actually have health benefits. Laughing increases serotonin (think natural anti-depressants) and endorphins (think natural painkillers) in the brain; laughing will also decrease stress hormones throughout your body! Smiling more can improve the health of your lungs, muscles, heart and immune system! Another benefit, is that smiling and laughing are contagious. If you start smiling and laughing more, those around you will too! Your simple resolution to smile and laugh more will positively impact those around you!

So next time you greet your friends and family or meet someone new, do so with a smile! And when you hear a good joke, laugh or the extra second, because its healthy and we are all on the path of constant self improvement!


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