A Smile Is Happiness You'll Find Right Under Your Nose
Most people overlook that smiling can be just as much a voluntary response as a conscious and powerful choice. Every time when we feel happy, our brain releases endorphins which are then transmitted to our muscles, triggering us to smile. A forced smile does the same thing to our mind. The contraction of muscles which leads us to smile sends this happy transmission back to our brains creating a positive loop of happiness (and production of endorphins) flowing between mind and smile, which can then be shared with everyone else.
The act of smiling activates neural networks which improves mood, promotes optimism and reduces stress. Brian Luke Seward’s paper, Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being discusses how smiling stimulates neural connections which lead to stress reduction. The neural connections stimulated by smiling also cause a surge in the mood boosting endorphins, dopamine and serotonin, leading to feelings of happiness. Smiling induces a positive impact to both mental and physical wellbeing, as it contributes to lower heart rates and blood pressure.
Smiles can also be contagious. Growing evidence shows that mirroring someone’s physiology, tone of voice and energy, is a natural and unconscious human instinct that allows us to empathize, recognize and understand that feeling. Mirroring a smile can have the same effect.
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