Why does smiling Matter if You’re not Feeling it??
Have you ever wondered if Smiling may make you happier?? Because the action of smiling is linked to brain pathways of feeling good, smiling may actually make you feel happier, even if you don’t feel like cracking a smile at the time. One really cool research study (below) showed that people could tell just by listening to someone’s voice over a telephone if they were SMILING when they said the words or not…it actually changes your voice too! SMILES really do tell all!
It takes far less muscle effort to smile than it does to frown, so for starters, it’s actually just easier for our bodies to smile than to frown. And smiling has a powerful effect on our brains–even if we don’t feel like smiling–in fact sometimes we need a smile most when we feel like doing quite the opposite, making yourself crack a smile will actually MAKE YOU HAPPIER and improve your MOOD. It’s because when you make the muscles smile in your face, it sends messages to your brain that you are happier–your brain is fooled even if you are forcing a smile–and because your brain is tricked into thinking you are happy, it responds by making more happy hormone or happy peptides, which in turn, actually lift your mood and make you truely smiley on the inside.
I grew up in house with a mom and dad who were always smiling. My mom is known by all of her friends and mine for being particularly ‘smiley’ and for having a sunny disposition. I learned from her how disarming a smile can be. I also try to practice smiling when I am frustrated to calm my mind and take a step back to see things more clearly.
Why does smiling have such an effect on our mood? Because our muscles in our face take up a lot of space in our brains to put it simply! Meaning that what we do with our face muscles effects our brains and our emotions!
Let’s talk about laughing, while were at it! Smiling taken a step further in Laughter, is also a powerful ‘medicine.’ Laughter Yoga is starting to be used in combination with conventional therapies in the west for cancer patients and people suffering from depression and is very effective at improving mood and well-being!
Another bonus to smiling more: people respond more positively to smilely people! It has been shown that people’s first impression of someone who is smiling, or smiley (i.e. has a facial expression and muscles shaped by making lots of smiles) vs. a frowner is much more positive than their first impression of a frowner based on this factor alone– before the person even opens their mouth!
Try smiling for a minute straight right now. Just hold that smile and notice how you feel and leave me a comment! And I will see you in the final video in my series, why vitamin D is so important!