by Yeira Wong
These days, it’s very easy to feel sad from being cooped up inside all day. It’s important to get some fresh air and stay healthy, but there are also other methods to boost one’s mood. Many people have told me that smiling helps improve mood and even TV shows have mentioned this idea. I always believed that it was true but didn’t really understand how it works. How can do we trick ourselves into feeling happy? Does it really work? Is there evidence? Of course, I’m not a real doctor so my findings and conclusions may not be 100 percent accurate.
What Does a Smile Do?
You see, a smile can create a feeling that is similar to the effect after eating 2000 bars of chocolate or finding £16,000 in your pocket. This happens because your brain is used to feeling good and then smiling, so when you smile your brain thinks that it’s feeling good. When something positive is happening in your life, signals travel from your brain to the smiling muscles in your face. From there your smiling muscles create a smile and sends positive signals back to the brain. It then creates a loop that makes us feel happy. In this way, we can manipulate our brains into feeling a certain way.
When we smile, a chemical reaction happens in our brain, resulting in more hormones and endorphins such as dopamine and serotonin. These 2 hormones make us feel happy and less anxious. Studies have proved that smiling helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and laughing helps enhance health.
In addition to all the health benefits, smiles have also been found to be contagious. Being around children increases the chances of smiling because they are always smiling. People generally want to mimic what they see and even smiling in the mirror, can help us calm down when we’re not feeling very well.
However, smiling may not always be the solution. Creating this fake feeling cannot replace happiness, nor can it completely replicate it. In fact, there have been more recent studies that tried to replicate the old studies that created different results than the original. Regardless, even with this new evidence, it’s still worth giving a try. It might not work, but it doesn’t hurt to give it a chance. So whenever you’re feeling down or just simply want to help others around you feel better, smile, because it just might make a difference.
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