Dale Carnegie is quoted as saying that a smile is one of our most meaningful assets. But what is the hard scientific impact of this ‘feel good’ habit anyway?
We all instinctively know the simple power of a smile. It makes us feel more carefree, happier and healthier. The physical act of smiling positively impacts our health and well-being within all systems and functions in the body.
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Smiling will reduce stress…
If we are stressed, our state of mind will impair our health and happiness. We have to acknowledge that there is now quick fix or magic pill to create our happy healthy life. It takes work to create healthy habits!
BUT… there is a free and easy way to interrupt the stress cycle. Smiling has been proven to stimulate the release of endorphins. These ‘feel good’ biochemicals help soothe tension and bring peace to a stressed out, frazzled state of mind.
…and boost our immune system!
With a reduction in stress comes a natural support to our immune system. Stress tends to wear us down because we spread ourselves thin and run ourselves ragged to attend to everything we trick ourselves into deeming important. Scientists have become fascinated with the clinical impact of ‘soft’ approaches like laughter therapy. Not surprisingly, even just the simple smile stimulates a great immune response and makes us healthier.
Can we “fake it ’til we make it” with smiling?
If we want to incite a change in mood (which will result in a healthier physiology),we can bring about positive change simply by smiling.
Provoking the muscles that produce a smile directly triggers pathways in the brain to bring about feelings of happiness (and therefore healthiness!).
A personal challenge…
How do you feel right at this moment? On a scale of 1 to 10, what’s your mood? Give it a quick ‘gut check’ score.
I am about a 7 – happy and content, surrounded by my family. There is nothing I need at this moment.
Once you have your score, hold a gentle smile on your face for 30 seconds. I’ll do it with you! I’m not talking about the obligatory and cheesy smile you give when a family member says, ‘smile’ for a photo. I’m talking about the genuine smile that comes from acknowledging that at this moment, all your needs are met and that we are provided for. If the gentle smiles wants to grow into a bigger smile using more cheek muscles, let it go there. Let’s use this as a short meditation to focus on all of our blessings and all that we are grateful for.
It should look like this:
After this paragraph, commit to completing this 30 second gentle smile. If you take this in earnest, it’s hardwired into your DNA to begin to see the world a little brighter. You may very well see your ‘half-full’ glass of water in front of you.