• flower smile

    What if there were a simple technique you could use that research has shown improves your state of mind? And what if that technique took no time to master? Even better, what if you had already been doing it all your life?

    It’s called smiling! 

    It’s no news that we smile because we feel good. But did you know that we also feel good because we smile?

    Here’s an overview from an article on why smiling makes you feel good

    Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

    For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

    The endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever – 100% organically and without the potential negative side effects of synthetic concoctions.

    Finally, the serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant/mood lifter.

    I have been experimenting with this in my own life, and it is rapidly becoming one of my go-to tools for maintaining a positive mood (or at least not falling down the rabbit hole of a foul one).

    I use it pretty much whenever, wherever. Driving in my car, walking through the grocery store – even sitting and writing blog posts (yep, I’m doing it right now).

    I don’t paste a big cheesy grin on my face. I just do a subtle Mona Lisa smile and let my eyes and face soften into it. I’m continually amazed at the degree to which it shifts how I feel.

    I started out exploring it as a stress management tool. But it feels so reliably good to do that I have started doing it any time I remember.

    Experiment: Here’s an easy experiment. For the next week, practice smiling. Big and cheesy is great, but soft and subtle is good too (and it’s easy to do for longer periods of time). To the degree you can, don’t just smile with your mouth. Let the rest of your face follow the smile. Smile with your eyes as well as your mouth.

    See how it feels. If you like it, make smiling a conscious part of your daily practice.

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