“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” By Thich Nhat Hanh
Did you know…?
- Smiling releases the “feel-good” neurotransmitters’ dopamine, endorphins and serotonin  into the blood stream automatically making us feel more relaxed?
- Smiling helps reduce pain, as endorphins are our body’s natural pain relievers?
- Facing someone smiling triggers empathy and an unconscious automatic response in the brain, making you feel better?
- A fake smile works as well, as it tricks the brain into thinking you are feeling alright and needs to do anything to adapt to this message?
- Smiling strengthens the immune system?
- Smiling and positive thoughts positively impact our personal health and our surroundings?
Other benefits of smiling:
- Greater memory: even with a fake smile we are able to immediately relax and remove the anxiety that keeps us away from accessing our stored information and knowledge.
- Better decisions: when forcing a smile, we are able to quickly tap into our range of options, relate them more efficiently, and make the best decision, at that moment.
- Improved mood and reduced stress: having or faking a smile will immediately calm us. It works on kids too! (helps them stop a tantrum – you may instruct them to turn around and have a smile on their face when they face you again – tantrum gone. Try it!)
- Increased patience: the world around us puts our patience to a test, we can embrace patience if we “wear” the smile on a continuous basis, as much as possible.
- Overall sense of happiness and well being: as smiling automatically makes us more positive, raising our spirits, changing the color of the filter through which we experience life, ourselves and the world around us.
- Better relationships: our relationships improve, qualitatively. We become more tolerant, respectful, understanding and forgiving.
- Increased self-esteem: we learn to to accept and love ourselves better.
- Live better, longer: the real or fake smile cause the brain to release the domino effect of feel good and feel rewarded sensors, acting as protectors.
- More attractiveness: not only we feel more attractive when we smile, but we’re also perceived as more attractive and beautiful.
The best way to learn something is to experiment it. As a simple test, next time you are walking on a busy street, outdoors waiting for a bus or simply waiting at the doctor’s office, maintain a smile on your face, and observe: what is happening? Do you find yourself looking up and ahead instead of down? Are you having positive or negative thoughts? Think of an issue that needs resolving (bring in the negative, yes), keep smiling, think of a solution or way to approach the challenge. How do you feel about it? I bet you it felt calm and manageable. Do your eyes widen? Is your face more relaxed? Are passersby making eye contact and connecting in a stranged manner? Do they seem to respond to the positive energy generated by your smile? There’s my proof. And the final proof, selfie a frown and a smile and be the judge. There will be a magic light in the smile one.
So don’t forget to:
- SMILE (real or fake, trick your brain)
- BE AROUND SMILES (I personally enjoy being around touristic areas, tourists smile more than local busy people, ha ha ha!)
- ENGAGE IN FUN ACTIVITIES (stand-up comedy, watch comedy movies, fun dance parties, play games, etc.)
- SPEND TIME WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE (those who always use positive supportive words, listen, are generous, caring and make you feel good)
Now, imagine if everyone around you also practiced smiling every time they go from one place to another, when they’re silent in a conversation, meeting or simply waiting or observing. Just imagine the calmness and the positive energy that would fill the air of where you are, and how people around you feel and act, just imagine. This is my dream.
- Dopamine is partially responsible for giving the brain energy, motivation, a rush, and is necessary for habit change. It also plays a role in our mood, sleep, learning, the ability to focus and concentrate, motor control, and working memory.
- Endorphins are natural painkillers produced in response to stimuli, like laughter, pain, stress, sex, starvation, and exercise, they reduce the perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body.
- Serotonin feeds us with confidence, flows when we feel significant, and is considered a natural mood stabilizer, is the chemical that helps sleeping, eating, and digesting; helps reduce depression, regulate anxiety, heal wounds and maintain bone health.