This change does not require a doctor’s visit, the use of needles or any type of surgery. The change is a smile. I know what you’re thinking. “Not another article on being happy.” Not exactly… read on to find out.
We all have friends that are overly cheery, always positive, and annoyingly upbeat. Sometimes we sincerely appreciate them for this attitude, and other times we just want to tell them, “Stop!” I’m not addressing them in this article yet believe they’re on to something. There’s evidence that smiling has a positive effect on our bodies.
Our Brains Like It
Research backs up that smiling activates tiny molecules in your brain that are designed to fend off stress. The molecules are neuropeptides. They help the neurons of the brain communicate. Smiling releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. These are the “Happy Hormones” known to help promote positive feelings, including happiness and pleasure.
I’ve noticed that when I smile, my mood lifts just a little. Try it right now. As you read this article, break into a smile. When you look at a picture, reflect on a sunrise, or for no crazy reason, smile. Go ahead, try this when you are alone, when nothing different is happening, just to test it out. Bust out a smile.
I live in Minnesota, where the weather is a very common topic of discussion. Sunlight affects me in a good way, but we are scarce in sunny days here. In over 57 years of record-keeping, the Twin Cities area has averaged 169 cloudy days, 101 partly cloudy days and 95 clear days per year, according to data from the National Centers for Environmental Information.
This affects me and many others who live in this beautiful state. I’ll try smiling more this winter, but it might be a forced smile!
Look and Feel Younger
Experimental Psychology published an article in their journal on smiling. Researchers found that smiling, even forced or fake, can have a positive impact on mood. Smiling can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy.
I’m not advocating we all walk around with a smile plastered on our faces, but this is an interesting fact. Can I trick my brain to release some feel-good hormones, even when I’m not feeling great? Here’s a quote from Very Well Mind:
“Smiling can be a conscious, intentional choice. Smiling can influence your feelings of positivity, even if it feels unnatural or forced. Regardless of whether your smile is genuine, it still sends the message that ‘Life is good!’ to your brain and, ultimately, the rest of your body.”
As far as the rest of your body, it seems that smiling has health benefits to our bodies. In this article you’ll read that smiling helps lower blood pressure, reduce stress, can reduce physical pain, and leads to longevity. An article titled, Is Smiling Good for Your Skin?, states that smiling helps you look younger by emphasizing your cheek bones and lips, lifts the face, and is attractive! A simple smile does all that.
Others Benefit from Your Smile
When you’re out and about, remember that you can lift someone else’s mood by giving them a smile. When we give a smile to someone, our brain is activated so we feel better too, creating a small but effective loop of happiness. Sometimes, I’m uplifted by someone seeing me and smiling, instead being regarded as an invisible white-haired old lady.
You never know when you, or someone else could use your smile.
Let’s Have a Conversation:
Did you try smiling when prompted in this article? Did it affect how you were feeling at that moment? Is this oversimplifying changing a mood, aches, pains, and feeling down? What is your reaction to the research on happy hormones released when smiling? Are you willing to try smiling more this winter?