Smiling: An Effective Way to Trick Your Brain into Happiness
Has anyone told you lately that you need to lighten up and smile? If so, it's highly likely that you're not in the mood to hear this; especially when you’re feeling tired, sick, or just plain down in the dumps. And while it sounds corny, a lot of good can come from turning that frown upside down. In. fact, scientific studies have shown that smiling can make you feel happier, less stressed, boost your immune system, and prolong your life.
Smiling triggers a powerful chemical reaction in the brain that makes you feel happier.
It might seem a bit backwards to smile in order to feel happiness, but as a neurologist explains, the act of smiling triggers a chemical reaction in your brain, releasing hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine makes us feel good while Serotonin release reduces stress. Low serotonin and dopamine levels are actually associated with depression, aggression.
Fake it Till You Make it
Using the chemical receptors in your brain, smiling can trick you into believing that you're happy which then triggers genuine feelings of happiness. But it's so much more than that!
Studies have shown that your system weakens once you feel depressed, while happiness on the other hand has been found to boost our body's resistance. This means that the act of smiling can actually make a difference in building your body's immune system—even more to smile about!
The brain doesn’t care whether you’re smiling because you’re genuinely joyful or if you're faking this enormous grin. Even forcing a smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate. According to some interesting research, individuals who couldn't frown thanks to botox injections were actually happier than the average person with full frowning capabilities. This and other similar findings have proven that smiling, whether genuine or not, helps calm the body’s response to stress, lower blood pressure, and lower heart rate in tense situations.
Smiling Helps You to Feel Better Throughout the Day
Smiling for 30 seconds at a time a few times a day helps you to stay upbeat, more energized, and avoid burnout.
Researchers believe that if you were to spend 60 seconds every morning smiling, you could supercharge your mood as a daily morning routine. Then, if something goes awry during the day, try and use smiling to quickly shift your mood. It only takes 10 to 15 seconds for it to make a difference and it will help to feel less stressed, transform your mood quickly and put things in a very different perspective.
How Does Smiling Go Viral?
A smile is something that is easy to pass on. Much like yawning, smiling is contagious. This is because we have mirror neurons that fire when we see action, and that enable us to copy or reflect the behavior we observe in others.
If we see a smile, we feel endeared and then we feel the need to respond by smiling back.
Smiling is so contagious because it is more than what you can see on the outside. A smile's effect on a person is not just about how it looks, but also the intention and feelings behind it.
When someone smiles at you, you feel the good vibes from them which makes you want to pass a smile on to the next person, and so on and so forth.