Smile to Empower Your Health

Have you realized how the word “smile” assumes the position of a smile on your face right after you pronounce the word? 

Language and Facial Expressions

The same is true with the words grin or grouch. In the English language or other languages, assume the facial expressions of the person pronouncing them. Perhaps this is how those words came into existence. 

As exciting as that is about language creation, even more, interesting is the fact smiling can help you learn how to control your biochemistry.

Japanese Smile Images
Smile and the whole world smiles with you

How Smiling Affects Your Body

When a smile flashes across your face, your brain releases neuropeptides. There are over 100 neuropeptides, which tell your body whether you are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited, or any other emotional state.

Smiling also activates the release of feel-good-messengers, neurotransmitters; including dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, particular brain chemicals aid in calming your nervous system by lowering heart rate and blood pressure.

Lower your Pain Level

Dopamine gives your brain the famous rush, energy, motivation all, which help habit change. Endorphins, your natural painkillers are 100% produced by your own body, without any adverse effects of medication. They reduce your perception of pain. Plus trigger a positive, euphoric feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Serotonin plays different roles but often referred to as the confidence molecule. When serotonin flows, you feel significant and controls your overall mood.

A smile works towards fighting your stress; dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin because they are in your bloodstream. Not only your body relaxes, but it lowers heart rate and blood pressure. 

BE TREATED WELL

Smiling in words
Lite up the world with your smile

When you smile, people treat you differently. You are attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. Research shows when seeing a smiling face your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain processing sensory rewards activates. Therefore, when you view a person smiling, you feel you’re being rewarded.

What difference can a smile make?

Does a smile make a difference in pain?

A smile can make a difference in your suffering. As spontaneous and straightforward as a smile is, it creates a positive cycle, a new mood.

A frown, a grimace can likewise create a mood. Which is more preferable, a smile or a frown?

The atmosphere of dissent brought about by frowning brings conflict and unfriendliness, while a smile can create unity and camaraderie. 

Smiles are contagious.

Smiling Together is fun
Smile for the camera even when there is not one

It costs nothing to smile. Do you like to be around positive people? The people who tend to be happy, who look on the bright side of life? When you smile, others can’t help but smile back at you. 

The effect of smiling is hard wired early. Smile at a baby, and the baby will smile back at you. Because of your smile, a baby becomes playful with you even if you are a stranger to him. With co-regulation a baby with playful, you can’t resist playing with him. Then he begins to laugh and giggle. Make a baby happy; and with co-regulation, you will make yourself comfortable also. 

Think of all the pleasant sensations that start with a simple smile. If all these chemicals take place in a doctor’s office, that is a chance that you will forget why you were upset there in the first place. A smile can transform pain, mainly psychological and emotional distress. 

Smile with friends
Smile together

Make A Good Impression

Smiling is your best option when you want to make a good impression. You can have the best clothes and makeup. You can be rich and famous. But if you frown, you’ll get the same treatment in return.

A smile with no monetary value is priceless because it’s given away for free. Naturally from the heart, a smile results in harmony at home and prosperity for business. A smile binds and maintains friendships. Any friendship is unimaginable without a smile.

Smile even when you are overwhelmed

How can you smile when you are feeling overwhelmed with the challenges of health, wealth, and world problems?

Yes, it’s difficult to smile; but does hopelessness or sulking help? 

Why there is so much clinical depression today? Ask yourself why people are so overwhelmed and distressed? Why do many attempt suicide or worse murder?

Do we need more of a personal touch? 

Have you noticed how you feel when you were standing in line, and someone turned and smiled at you?

Before that smile, maybe you were anxious, tapping your foot in impatience. Not happy to be there waiting in a long line. You had things to do and were getting more frustrated by the minute. Waiting is one of the mundane drudgeries of life we all go through. Then comes a smile from the person next to you, suddenly you feel better. And you are compelled to smile back.

Don’t you feel compelled to smile back when someone smiles at you?

You react by smiling without thinking because it is a natural inclination to reciprocate a smile.  

Doesn’t smiling end frustrations and lift your mood? 

That smile does more than that. It makes you part of a group. An integral part of humanity, you feel accepted and liked when you receive a smile. It shows somebody cares and shares the things you go through. When you do not think that humanity makes a difference in our society, research why young people join gangs, they are seeking to be a part of something, to belong. Their gang becomes family because everyone needs someone.

There is power in the smile. It is like someone waved a magic smile wand and all the drudgery and upset disappeared. Suddenly you feel warm and responsive. The person who offered you a smile went from a stranger to be wary of to a kindred spirit. A conversation begins; a connection made. Now the mundane becomes enjoyable. You no longer feel frustrated and rushed in spite of yourself. Instead, you are enjoying yourself. Your world is now warm and fuzzy instead of cold, fearful and bitter. 

world smile day
Spread happiness

A smile is worth more than words. It is a universal language expressed in the form of a gesture that greets and welcomes other people. When someone smiles at you, anywhere in the world, you smile back. Smiling especially at a time, you least expect it, will end overwhelm. 

Christmas Smiles

Best exemplified during the Christmas season is the power of emotions. Christmas can be a time and season of smiles. But Christmas is also a time you can get too busy attending parties and shopping that you get fatigued. You can’t smile anymore. When somebody smiles at you despite your weariness, you can’t help but smile back.

Try this experiment today walk into a shop and look around. 

Are people smiling? Are they happy to be there, or is there a frown from the owner or manager? How do you feel? Do you want to shop? Before you know it, you are out of the door. It’s as if your legs have a mind of their own — the reason why salespeople wear smiles on their faces all the time. By the way, if you are in retail, smiling is a great way to attract more customers. It is the trademark of successful businesses. 

Far too many people walk around in sadly. I admit I was one of the ones who walked around in a depressed state when I was in constant pain. I had many aches and pains, things on my mind, things I was not happy with, I used to feel sorry for myself daily. Even when I write about this time now, I realize how hopeless, angry and pathetic I used to be.

Perceptions can change, however, depressed you feel.

A depressed friend told me about a new employee who joined her company; Paul. Now, Paul did not have a lot going for him. I won’t go into details, but let’s say she did not feel jealous of his life. Becoming quite good friends with Paul, and they would go to lunch together. She would meet him in the cafe at 1 pm waiting in her gloomy state of mind. Arrive he certainly did, always with a beaming smile on his face. They would talk while eating lunch, in which he never had a negative word to say. When he was talking, he spoke with passion, about food and films. One day it dawned on her, if Paul, who from what she knew of him, seemingly has nothing can always be positive, happy and smiling, why couldn’t she be?

That understanding was the beginning of a new era in her life. A period of being positive, appreciating what she had, and more than anything else, plenty of smiles. She learned what science now tells us, smile, and laugh more often. 

Emotion pillows
Pick your smile pillow

No Difference between Faking or Real

Your brain does not know the difference between faking and really smiling. When you’re feeling down or notice that you’ve not smiled in a while, fake one. The more you fake a smile, the more likely smiling will become a natural habit.

Will a frown take away the pain and rid the problems that keep pushing you down? 

The answer is obvious. Don’t frown, without a shadow of a doubt, a smile will change your biochemistry. Smiling clears clouds to bring sunshine into your life. It is the gateway to your new habit and personality. Wearing a smile every minute and hour of the day, and you won’t need anything else.

Technology and Smiling

In the world of technology, we do not have ample opportunity to interact personally. Everyone seems to be in a rush. Life is fast-paced, and we talk to machines, spending long hours on the computer, playing games or working online. Even in an office environment, we text or email the person in the cubicle 3 feet away instead of walking over to smile. I, for one, cannot imagine ever being without my computer and am guilty of spending a large part of my day working online. The internet affords so many opportunities. I communicate with persons all over the world. As a result of the technological age, our personal touch is decreasing. 

Interact in Person

We need to take advantage of opportunities to interact face to face. When we become strangers to one another, we can not positively co-regulate. In our hurry to finish the to-do list, we walk past each other on the street without even a nod. Giving and receiving a smile is not the solution to all the world’s problems, but it is an excellent place to start. Humans need a sense of belonging as co-regulation built into our DNA. 

Spread Happiness 

Go ahead, smile. The world will be a friendlier place to live. You might find that people are warm and kind and appreciative. Your smile might make their day. Think of the last time someone made your day – or you made theirs? FISH!, the bestseller by Stephen C. Lundin Ph.D., Harry Paul, and John Christensen, the fishmongers at the Pike Place Fish Company in Seattle do it daily. They spread happiness by throwing fish and joking with their loyal customer-fans, and by just having fun. Or try volunteering to help others.

smiling with plants
Joy from helping with a smile

Lessen Your Pain 

I made a point to look for people I could reach out to with a smile. It was enjoyable, and I felt better than they did. I realized that the glow of smiling leads to happy biochemicals. When you make someone else’s day, that bounces back to you. It’s a great feeling to see the joy and maybe surprise on their faces. Making everyone’s day, a little better will not break the bank or take much time. Because smiling is contagious, it probably won’t just be one person you make smile today.

Start with little things, like:

  • Smiling
  • Saying thank you and good morning
  • Offering your place in line to someone else
  • Bringing a cup of tea to your office mate
  • Doing a task to help a coworker
  • Taking time with someone who needs it
  • Being a fully present enlightened listener

Put a smile on someone’s face today? 

Here are ways to turn that frown upside down.

1. Donate your time or something else to a charity.

2. Compliment someone on their appearance.

3. Hug for no reason at all.

4. Take a friend to lunch.

5. Let someone know you miss them.

6. While you’re out shopping, ask a friend if they need anything. 

7. Hold off your anger and look at a situation from a different point of view.

8. Send some flowers or a gift to someone you are not in love with.

9. Leave a joke on a friend’s text.

10. Tell your friend or child you’re proud of them.

11. Vacate your seat on public transportation to someone else.

12. Over-tip at your favorite restaurant.

13. Make a surprise call say hi.

14. Plan an indoor picnic on a rainy day with your children or friends.

15. Leave a love letter somewhere where your spouse will find it.

16. Send a loved one an unusual or unexpected gift like chocolate, a photo, or even toys.

17. Share your smile and umbrella on a rainy day.

18. Tell someone you thought about them.

19. Cook a surprise meal one night, especially if they usually do the cooking.

20. Tell your partner you love them.

21. Send a card to your friend, letting them know what their friendship means to you.

It doesn’t take much to create a joyful moment. 

Look around, and you’ll find there are more openings than you think. They’re everywhere! Control your Smile – Control your life.

References

Abel E. and Kruger M. (2010). Smile Intensity in Photographs Predicts Longevity, Psychological Science, 21, 542–544.

Buck R. (1980). Nonverbal behavior and the theory of emotion: the facial feedback hypothesis. J Pers Soc Psychol. May; 38(5):811-24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7381683

Hatfield, Elaine; Cacioppo, John T.; Rapson, Richard L. Clark, Margaret S. (Ed), (1992). Primitive emotional contagion. Emotion and social behavior. Review of personality and social psychology, Vol. 14., (pp. 151-177). Thousand Oaks, CA, US: Sage Publications, Inc, xi, 311 pp.

RD Lane & L. Nadel (2000). Neural correlates of conscious emotional experience. In R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 345–370). New York: Oxford University Press.

Seaward BL. (2009). Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett; 258

Sonnby–Borgström, M. (2002). Automatic mimicry reactions as related to differences in emotional empathy. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43: 433–443

Thomas BR, Charlop MH, Lim N, Gumaer C (2019). Measuring Happiness Behavior in Functional Analyses of Challenging Behavior for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Behav Modif. 145445519878673. doi: 10.1177/0145445519878673. 

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