I have written in past posts about the health benefits of hugs and laughter, but you may not have realized that just smiling, all by itself, has benefits as well! Smiling has been proven to stimulate the release of ‘feel good’ biochemical endorphins that soothe tension and stress.
By reducing stress, smiling acts to boost immune system function as well. Maybe you are having a terrible, stressful day and you just don’t feel like smiling – fake a smile anyway. Research shows simply using those smile muscles trigger pathways in the brain that shift to happier, healthier feelings.
Research done reveals that the Duchenne smile, an authentically joyful smile that not only turns the corners of your mouth up but also causes your eyes and nose to crinkle up, holds the real power. You can read a bit more about this here. In any event – smiling has so many benefits it is worth practicing throughout the day!
Now I’m definitely not suggesting you pretend you are happy when you’re not. If you don’t properly acknowledge and process your emotions that will cause problems down the road. What I am suggesting is that when you’re stressed out or frustrated, try smiling on purpose and see if it doesn’t create a profound shift in your emotions. Think of it as just interrupting a negative pattern in the moment.
So while I always recommend people set an alarm and intentionally get up and move around every 30-60 minutes throughout the day, why not try combining that with intentional smiling? It couldn’t hurt anything and you may end up feeling more positive, hopeful and calmer. Who knows – in time you could transform yourself from an anxious, negative person to a consistently calm, upbeat, positive person!
Are you willing to try intentionally smiling to see how it affects your moods?
Here is something to make you smile: you can get 125 of my best baby steps to improve your health for $5 right here!
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