Smiling is an instant way to reduce stress and promote overall well-being!
A University of Kansas study found that smiling reduces everyday stress. Those who smiled throughout the day were less stressed doing normal tasks than those with neutral (non-smiling) facial expressions. Stress levels were especially lower in those with genuine smiles. In another part of the study, those who forced a smile during an unpleasant task also had lower stress levels.
So, what’s so great about smiling and how does it affect my health? Glad you asked! When smiling, we release endorphins (endogenous morphine). Endorphins are neurotransmitters, chemicals that pass along signals from one neuron to the next. Neurotransmitters play a key role in the function of the central nervous system.
Endorphins are produced as a response to certain stimuli, especially stress, pain, or fear (fight or flight). They originate in various parts of your body, such as the pituitary gland, your spinal cord and throughout other parts of your brain and nervous system. Once released, these endorphins travel down our spine sending feel good messages throughout the rest of our body. Endorphins (similar to morphine) are strong enough to reduce physical or emotional pain, as they envelop us into a nice warm sense of well-being.
Endorphins have an amazingly wonderful ability to make us feel happy, and whenever we smile, we release them. So even if you’re not happy when you begin to smile, you will soon be happy, and the more often you smile, the happier you will feel.
Realizing the health benefits of smiling and since it costs us nothing to smile, then why not smile as often as possible?
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