Smile! Smiling is usually a result of feeling happy - but did you know that happiness can also be a result of smiling?
Smiling and Us
When we smile the brain releases neopeptides, dopamine, serotonin and endorphins - all the feel-good hormones that reduce stress, provide pain relief, boost immunity, and lift mood.
Smiling has also been shown to have a number of positive effects on our minds and bodies. It causes a measurable reduction in our blood pressure, and helps to relieve stress. This in turn boosts our immune system to function more effectively. Serotonin makes us feel good and elevates our mood, helping us stay positive.
The sneaky part is, even when we force a smile, it doesn't take long for our brain to be 'tricked' into thinking we are happy.... and then start producing the happiness chemicals for real.
Tips to try:
Look in the mirror in the morning and smile for 15 seconds.
Build positive feelings for the person in the mirror.
Hold a smile for 15 seconds when things get tough.
Before a presentation, or something that makes you nervous.
Try the Secret Smile if you're shy.
Soften your face and lift the corners of your mouth so slightly so only you can tell.
Smiling and Others
Passing on a smile is easier than you think. Mirror neurons are set off when we observe another person performing an action, so seeing someone smile often automatically causes us to smile too. The simple act of sharing a smile triggers a smile reflex in others, leading their brains to undergo a chemical reaction as well, making you both happier and healthier!
As well as stimulating the feel-good hormones, this reciprocal smile fires the reward centre in our brains, so we actually feel like we received a reward. Bonus!
Tips to try:
Smile even if you don't feel like it
Start a conversation with a smile
Be around people that make smiling easier!
If you have a large group, try this smiling game from Playmeo.