Why You Should Smile
Your day is going terribly; you have been running late, your kids won’t cooperate and your car is on the verge of a break down. The last thing you feel like doing is smiling but it may be just what you need. There are many benefits to your health and overall well being based on your ability to smile.
A study by the University of Kansas psychologists that will be published in Psychological Science shows that a smile under stressful situations can make your stress level go down. During the experiment, subjects were put into groups. The first group was told to keep their mouth in a neutral position, the next group was instructed to form the shape of a smile with their mouths, while the third group was encouraged to produce a natural smile. The groups were then given stressful tasks such as holding their hand in cold water or drawing a star as fast as they could with their non dominant hand. Each time their heart rate was monitored and recorded and the results showed that the group that was forming the shape of a smile with their mouths had lower heart rates while recovering from the stressful tasks than those who had assumed neutral expressions, and those with natural smiles had lower heart rates yet.
A smile has the ability to release endorphins throughout your body. Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in our brains to reduce our perception of pain. Along with endorphins, a smile can also increase the bodies production of serotonin which is a mood stabilizer. A smile has also been shown to lower blood pressure and boost the immune system.
A Smile Is Contagious
The facial expression of smiling when you are happy or copying someone else’s expression is controlled in the part of the brain that is an unconscious automatic response. People who look at someone who is smiling automatically smile themselves. There is a chance that someone who is having a bad day can benefit from being around people who are smiling since this will increase their endorphins, lower their blood pressure and stress and increase serotonin.
There is no down side to a smile whether it is genuine or faked. A smile is the easiest way to change your situation even when it may seem the last thing you want to do.