What happens to your brain when you smile

Ever been in a really bad mood and gotten the simple advice to “just … smile!”? Like that would actually be the answer to all your problems. The outcome would rather be a sassy comment or a huge outrage, than a lighter mind… We’ve all heard that smiling is good for you, but when having a bad temper, or just one of those days where you want to stick your head in the sand, it can seem like the last thing you would feel like doing. However, even though pouting and a bad-temper can be legitimate at times, research has shown that smiling will not only leave you feeling happier, but that it has a particularly positive health effect on both body and mind.

Since the UK adult smiles on average 11 times every day, grinning is a big part of our everyday life. Doubtfully everyone knows what’s actually going on with our internal mechanisms when flexing our face muscles. Luckily, our friends at Sunny have done the research for us and shared their findings in a fun interactive on their brilliant “Good vibes” blog.

For those of you who are not yet familiar, “Good vibes” is a well-done and fun website focusing on finding a better way of living particularly by managing your finances. According to the Sunny team, everything begins with letting go of your stresses and this can be done for instance by smiling more. “When you smile, 4 hormones are released in your noggin. These work together to relieve stress, lower heart rate, increase productivity and reduce anxiety, leaving us feeling happy!” Hereafter follows a quick crash course in what these hormones do, and why it’s worth knowing.

We all know there is nothing more irritating than the relentlessly cheerful! But perhaps being oh-so annoyingly cheerful is, in fact, your route map to inner joy and a healthier lifestyle…! Spend time being grateful for what you have – you’re luckier than you imagine! For example, write down things you are grateful for in your life or go for a hike and gaze at the stars. Stop waiting around for life to happen, seize the day and wear your special pants because every day is…and should be, special.

Are your knickers still holding you back …? Keep reading to find out what really goes on in the brain and body when you smile and you may just get a different approach to happiness …!

Neuropeptides are the communicative hormones, that spread messages with information throughout our entire body. When we are happy, sad or in pain, these little couriers distribute that feeling. More importantly, they help us relieve stress and restore calmness after a nerve-racking event.

Serotonin are our healers, found in the blood platelets, they help us repair wounds by causing arteries to narrow. When we smile these guys help to stabilize our mood and reduce depression, by regulating anxiety.

Endorphins, is the body’s famous happy pills, responsible for fighting feelings like stress and pain, by blocking these areas in our brain. They spread fast throughout our bodies, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure, leaving us feeling more relaxed.

Dopamine is our very own cheerleader, being the key factor in motivation and productivity. It rewards us with pleasure when we have done something satisfying. Worth knowing is that one smile generates the same amount of dopamine as 2,000 chocolate bars.

Thanks to these friendly hormones, smiling can have a number of positive effects for the body and soul. Research has shown that smiling can improve our overall health. As we have learned, smiling relaxes your body, but more than that, it can also contribute to a more powerful immune system. A body relieved from long illnesses can grow stronger, which will generate a physically healthy body that lasts for the long term.

Putting a smile on your face doesn’t only generate positive benefits for you, but can enrich lives around you. “Smiling is contagious”, is not only just another classic saying, but studies have shown that people tend to lighten up when people in their environment are smiling as well. It’s human nature to reflect the emotions of others, let’s make sure it is a positive one.

Smiling and happiness are often linked together, and putting on a smile can lift your spirits even when you’re feeling down. Phycologists have found that forcing a grin in a bad mood can instantly improve your attitude to the better. Meaning, that you can actually trick yourself into feeling a lot happier.

The conclusion is simple… there’s magic in your smile! Smiling can enrich your life in so many different ways. It can start a new friendship, dissolve an argument and improve your overall health. So, in the future when you’re feeling down and having one of those dreary days, it might be worth considering that clever person’s advice, to just to smile.

This article was originally published on YourCoffeeBreak.co.uk.