Smile Your Way to Happiness
It’s all in a smile. We smile when we’re happy, but did you know we can increase our happiness just by smiling? When we smile we send signals to our brains, reduce our stress responses and shift our brain wave patterns. We actually are healthier the more we smile.
Children smile far more often…10 to 20 times as often, as adults. There’s definitely something to be said about being “childlike” sometimes. And being around children tends to increase your smile frequency. Who can resist smiling while watching children play and, especially, laugh?
Spending time with pets or other animals also helps to increase spontaneous smiling. Watching dogs play at a dog park or your own dog chasing that ball with apparent bliss often leads to smiles and a lighter mood. In fact, people who own pets tend to live longer and be healthier. Part of the reason for that is likely the joy created in that relationship, evidenced by lots of smiles.
It turns out that you can teach your body to smile more. When you engage the smile muscles, signals are sent to your brain to feel happy, and that reinforces the smile response. If you don’t feel like you have anything so smile about right now, imagine something really fun or happy until you start to feel a smile coming on. Focus on that feeling and let it grow. Once you’re smiling, you’ll feel better…happier, and you’ll want to smile more, which will continue the cycle
So, when you’re frustrated or sad, take a deep breath, think of something really happy, or just engage the smile muscles, and…smile. Practice this every day so it gets easier. Just one of many ways to improve your life, for free!