Smile! Cheerleading Helps You Live Longer?

DSC_6003Could being a cheerleader make you live longer? Follow my logic, according to USA Today, happy people live longer, healthier lives.  According to the paper, A study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that those who reported feeling happiest had a 35% reduced risk of dying compared with those who reported feeling least happy.

Facts To Make You Smile 

An article in Scientific American suggests the act of  smiling can actually make you happy. “It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having,” says Michael Lewis, a co-author of the study.

Facts To Make You Happy  

Psychologist Judith Grob of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands says, “No one yet knows why our facial expressions influence our emotions as they seem to. The associations in our mind between how we feel and how we react may be so strong that our expressions simply end up reinforcing our emotions—there may be no evolutionary reason for the con­nec­tion. Even so, our faces do seem to communicate our states of mind not only to others but also to ourselves. “I smile, so I must be happy,” Grob says.

Facts To Make You Healthy

Science.howstuffworks.com states, “Based on mounting research, such a premise isn’t too far off. Happiness, loosely defined as satisfaction and appreciation for one’s life, appears to be the psychological equivalent of Vitamin C. In ways that aren’t yet completely understood, a positive outlook on life helps to protect against the negative effects of stress, safeguarding people from becoming sick…Not only are happy people less likely to send out surges of stress hormones like cortisol that contribute to heart disease, but they’re also more likely to follow good self-care and have better social networksboth reliable indicators of good physical health.”

 1-2-3! Cheer Is Good For Me!  IMG_2049

Let’s add these facts up and see if we have anything to cheer about.

Fact #1 – The act of smiling can actually make you feel happy. Cheerleaders HAVE to smile;  all the time. We smile at practice.  We smile on the sidelines, and at performances and competition. Cheerleaders smile a lot. Ever go to cheer in a bad mood but left in a better mood?  If so, it worked.

Fact #2 – Our facial expressions are reflected in our emotions. So if we smile we are telling ourselves and others that we are happy. Want to know if it worked?  Ever smiled at the crowd or a team mate and they smiled back? It worked.

Fact #3 – Being happy helps protect against the negative effects of stress and happy people are more likely to follow good self care. Feel better after a gab session and a laugh with your besties at practice?  Have any of them taught you ways to keep yourself healthier? It worked.

How does this add up for cheerleaders? 

Cheerleaders are conditioned to smile a lot which releases chemicals that actually make us happy. We follow that up with surrounding ourselves with other people who make us happy and keep us healthy. It may not be an exact science, but it’s nothing to laugh off. If these scientists want subjects who can help them prove this point, I bet we could get a lot of cheerleaders who would be happy to volunteer. Either way, cheer makes us smile and we spread those smiles to everyone we come in contact with. Seems like a win / win situation for everyone involved.  

Want to spread the cheer love and send a smile to someone who makes you happy? Contact us to tell us about your cheer hero! Give us feedback on what you want to see more of so that we can produce materials to make you happy and live longer. (Aright that was a stretch, but we had to try.) Look for more stories of inspiration from Cheer NN!