Fight stress with a smile

SMILING can prolong life by reducing stress, leading to fewer accidents and illnesses, it was claimed yesterday when the British Safety Council launched its Smile for Safety Week with a call for people to laugh their way to a healthier lifestyle.

'Smiling is the key to wellness, and now is the time to start on the road to a happier, healthier, stress-free life,' James Tye, the council's director general, said. 'Smile and you're on your way to feeling better and looking younger.' It was particularly important in the run-up to the Christmas period, traditionally the most stressful time of the year, he added.

The Smile for Safety Week is part of the council's campaign to counteract the effects of stress. It estimates that stress-related disorders such as ulcers, headaches, backaches, high blood pressure and asthma affect one third of the national workforce, resulting in the loss of 90 million working days a year at a cost of pounds 7bn.