Research has shown that the simple act of smiling can boost our mood and improve our overall well being. We assume that when someone is smiling that it is because they are feeling happiness. Turns out, that the simple act of smiling itself can also be the cause of joy. Also, smiling is not a learned behaviour. Even those born blind will smile when they are experiencing feelings of joy. But why is that? And how can we use this knowledge to improve our lives?
Smile more often. Even if you aren't feeling happy.
A study published in the journal Emotion found that people who smiled at least once every hour were happier than those who didn’t smile at all. This was true even when controlling for other factors such as age, gender, income, and relationship status. Practicing smiling, even when we don't necessarily feel like it, can make us feel happier in the moment. Try it right now as you read this.
Smile when you're stressed out.
Researchers believe that smiling releases endorphins, chemicals that give us feelings of happiness and well-being. Endorphins also help reduce stress and anxiety. In fact, one study found that people who smiled more often had lower levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.
Smile at strangers. Spread happiness.
If you want to feel better, start by smiling at others. A recent study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science suggests that smiling at strangers makes them happier than smiling at friends. This effect was strongest when the stranger was looking directly into your eyes. Smiles are also contagious, and your simple smile could inspire someone to smile at someone else, brightening up everyone's day.
The ancient Taoists believed that the benefits of an inner smile were health, happiness and longevity. We now know that this is true and that a simple smile can boost our immune system and help ourselves and others feel better. Try to smile for no reason a few times each day or when you feel a bit stressed. You won't look silly, smiling looks beautiful on everyone.
Simple smiling exercise you can do today or whenever you are feeling stressed.
1.) Set a timer for 60 minutes on your your phone or computer.
2.) When the time goes off, stop what you are doing and smile for 30 - 60 seconds.
3.) Bonus points if you smile at someone around you.
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