Smiling Brings Happiness

by Scott Morrice on 04/12/2012

Smile Like Crazy! I just finished reading that admonition in a recent post written by Cheryl Richardson, and it really struck a chord with me. It appears that smiling brings happiness!

Even Cheryl’s phrase makes me smile! It just sounds like such a goofy, fun thing to say.

Did you know that smiling is a very, very healthy thing to do? Even aside from the fact that you are projecting a certain attitude that others around you can read and themselves benefit from (smiling is contagious!), the physical act of smiling is truly a “wonder drug” as far as your body is concerned.

And it doesn’t even have to be a real smile. It can be a fake smile. Your body can’t tell the difference.

When we smile we “trick” our body into thinking that everything is okay, and this reduces the effects of stress that I wrote about in my How Stress Affects Our Health post. You become more relaxed.

According to Dr Michael Lewis, psychologist at Cardiff University:

Simply using the same muscles as smiling will put you in a happier mood.
That’s because use of those muscles is part of how the brain evaluates mood.

And add-on benefits of being more relaxed are that, firstly, your immune system gets a boost. Your body becomes much more efficient at fighting off sickness.

Secondly, research has shown that smiling actually reduces your blood pressure. I assume, again, because you are more relaxed.

Thirdly, studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin, which together act as a natural drug that make us feel good.

But if you needed any more motivation than any of the foregoing, then consider that smiling makes us attractive. Frowns and grimaces act as a repellant to those around us, but we all want to interact with a person that is smiling.

And finally, the coup de grace—the muscles we use to smile lift the face, making us look younger!

Cheryl tells us:

Smile like crazy today! Smile at strangers, at little kids, smile at your partner, your pets, and your boss.
And please remember to smile at yourself in the mirror.
At least a hundred times, okay? :)))

Sounds like good advice to me!

I’ll keep you posted.

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