Keep the Happy Smile: Smiling Can Trick Your Brain Into Happiness
At least once in your life, odds are someone has turned back, looked at you and asked you to cheer up and smile. Now what could vary is each person’s reaction to that statement. Some people end up smiling while most people just turn their scowl up even further. This is because the last thing people want to hear when they are not feeling at their best is someone telling them to replace their scowl with a smile.
While it may seem like annoying advice, that may be just what you need to get yourself out of that slump and back to happiness. Research has shown that by smiling, your mood can be improved, your immune system boosted, and your stress levels lowered.
For most people, smiling when there is nothing to be happy about is nothing short of a herculean task. But new reports from experts are now showing that smiling even when we don’t have a reason to has a tangible effect on our physical body. Smiles have been proven to cause chemical reactions within the brain, causing the body to release more hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine and serotonin are hormones associated with increased feelings of happiness while low levels of the hormones have been linked to being a leading reason for depression and aggressive behavior.
So, Fake it till I Feel Better?
Absolutely. By faking a smile, you can trick your brain into thinking you’re happy which can then trigger the actual feelings of happiness. When the brain senses the physical act of smiling, it takes note of the muscles moving,and it then forms the assumption that humor is happening at the moment. With the body in such a relaxed mode for long periods of time consistently, the immune system begins to enjoy a boost.
Deciding to smile consciously could come across as strange within the first few weeks. Consciously remind yourself about the benefits and repeat the habit over a few weeks and watch the changes in your lifestyle.
Smiling Aids Day-to-Day Activity
Putting the numerous studies aside, there are millions of people who can identify smiling as the one thing they do that gets them through the rigors of the day.
Spending about a minute every morning smiling for no reason can change the way your entire day goes. Experts refer to smiling as a mood supercharger,and if used properly it can be used to get out of tense situations where one can feel stress or negative emotions creeping in.
During the day, it is important to keep smiling in mind consciously. Many people have posted testimonials online about how smiling consciously for at least 30 seconds per hour every day helps to elevate their mood, stay energized, and avoid burnout when doing the same task repeatedly.
Smiling during the day for a few seconds makes all the difference. It helps to ease stress, it also helps to keep the mood cheery, and allows you to see things through a clearer lens that is unbridled by anger or negative emotions.
Smiling during the day not only helps your day get better, but it also helps other people you may come into contact with during the course of the day. The internet is filled with stories of people whose lives changed because of a smile from a stranger.
Smiling during the day can also help you create the ideal stage when you are having a conversation with strangers you meet during the day. Smiles change everything. They open doors and hearts of people you may not even speak the same language as! Smiling is a universal language that everyone can understand.
Smiling Can Make You Go Viral
In today’s world that revolves around relatable content, smiling can make you go viral. Like a cute cat video shared over a million times on the internet, the ripple effect of a smile can also be felt across an entire city due to its contagious nature. Smiling is a lot like yawning which is also very contagious.
The main reason for the viral nature of smiling is because of the mirror neurons that can be found all over the body. Mirror neurons are components of our body that allow us to copy or reflect the behavior we see in other people and have been linked to the capacity for empathy.
When mirror neurons see an emotion like smiling, it sends a signal to the brain which in turn sends a signal to the necessary muscles that are involved with smiling. The more smiles we run into during the course of our day, the higher the chances of us returning that smile back.
And many charities are aware of this fact which is why there have always been multiple charities focused on providing corrective surgery to individuals unable to smile because of cleft lips and palates.
The contagious nature of smiling does not simply boil down to how it looks from the outside but because the intention and the feeling put behind the smile can be felt as well. When you are at the receiving end of a smile from a friend or stranger, you can feel all the positive energy flowing from them,and the mirror neurons in your body make it such that you capture that and pass it on to the next person we see.
The contagious power of a smile is so potent that we could possibly contact a smile from each other. Many experts have mentioned that smiling at oneself in the mirror often, cannot only stimulate our mirror neurons but will help us calm down if we are upset and cheer up if we are feeling bad or anxious.
And the truth of the matter is, today the world could use more smiles. Considering how much the ripple effect of a smile is, your smile could be all that is needed to cause a ripple effect that could change someone’s life permanently. We should all practice smiling more, even if we don’t feel like it.
Medically Fact-Checked & Written by Our Dental Editorial Team
You can read more about our editorial guidelines by clicking this link and learn more about the Emergency Dentists USA editorial team here.