Here’s Why You Need to Smile to Improve Your Health and Wellbeing
We’ve all heard the phrase “laughter is the best medicine”. Whenever you’re feeling down, feeling sick, or tired, you often hear someone telling you to cheer up and smile. They claim that smiling can help lift up your mood and ease your problems, or at least, make your emotional baggage easier to bear.
But did you know that smiling can help boost your health according to health experts? Studies show that the act of smiling helps lower your stress levels, boost your immune system, and even prolongs your life. Let’s see how we can make ourselves smile more to reap these health benefits.
The Benefits of Smiling
According to IGEA Brain and Spine neurologist Dr. Isha Gupta, smiling can send a chemical reaction to your brain, causing it to release specific happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. The dopamine helps increase your happiness while the serotonin helps fight against cortisol to reduce your stress.
Aside from that, you give the natural killer (NK) cell a boost whenever you smile, which battles against viruses and cancer. Here’s how you can practice smiling even when things get rough.
Keep Smiling to Trick Your Brain
This may seem like a difficult thing to do especially if you’re feeling lonely, sorrowful, or depressed, but Grossman urges you to keep smiling. You can keep your muscles twitched in an upward motion as you smile or grin. The movement of muscles sends a pattern to your brain that you’re happy, regardless if you’re truly happy or not.
Even a fake or forced smile can help lower your stress and heart rate. A separate study conducted at the University of Cardiff in Wales also found that people who opt not to frown were happier than those who frown frequently.
If you can put on an act of smiling, Grossman encourages you to practice that, even if it’s forced or fake, until it became a habit. If not, you can immerse yourself in comedic scenes, books, or any light-hearted material to stimulate your soft spots and cause you to smile more often.
Make Smiling a Morning Routine
Now that you’ve mastered the act of smiling, the next step is for you to incorporate it into your daily life. According to Florida-based meditation coach Jaime Pfeffer, smiling not only boosts your health but it also helps shifts your perspective into something positive.
She shares how she and her husband spend 60 seconds to smile every day to supercharge their mood. It became part of their routine along with meditation. If they happen to have a bad day, they usually just smile to shift their mood quickly.
It’ll only take them 10-15 seconds to surround themselves with positive vibes. She also channels her smiles to her clients, especially when they’re dealing with tedious work or if they have a long day. She reminds them to smile from time to time to lift their mood. One of her clients says her smile had infected her and it helped her stay upbeat when doing her sales calls.
Smiling is also Contagious
Smiling every day not only affects your health and wellbeing, but it also helps the people around you. According to Dr. Eva Ritzo, our mirror neurons react to our surroundings, especially if we see some actions like smiling or yawning.
This causes our mirror neurons to send signals in our brain to mimic the said action, causing us to smile or laugh when someone is doing the act. Aside from mimicking the act, the mirror neurons can also transmit the feeling and behavior to another person. We end up feeling empathic or joyful whenever we smile or laugh.
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