Turn that frown upside down (DW#474)

"When you are happy, and you know it, smile a smile". This is how we usually think of smiling, isn’t it?

However, science now suggests that smiling can trick your brain into happiness — and boost your health.

It has to do with our hormones. When hormones such as dopamine and serotonin are low in our brains, we experience feelings of anxiety, depression and aggression. Smiling spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing hormones including dopamine and serotonin which increase our feelings of happiness and reduce stress.
And it gets better: we now know that depression weakens our immune system – we are more susceptible to infections when we are experiencing a low mood. Happiness on the other hand, boosts our body’s resistance and increases our immunity. And since smiling increases happiness, it boosts immunity.

The strange thing is that for the most part, the brain cannot detect whether it is a genuine smile or not. It is the muscle activity associated with smiling that seems to trigger the release of feel good hormones - to the extent that one study from the University of Cardiff in Wales found that found that people who could not frown due to botox injections were happier on average than those who could frown!!!

Other studies have found smiling linked to lower blood pressure and to longevity.

It gets even better: like yawning, smiling is contagious. We have mirrorneurons in our brain that enable us to copy or reflect the behavior we observe in others. When we see someone smiling, we feel the good vibes from them, which makes us want to smile back at them and also perhaps pass a smile on the next person we meet.

So, go ahead. Practice smiling right now. Try smiling for 20-30 seconds whether or not you feel like it and see how it changes your mood and your day.

Enjoy :)

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