Smiling may be a simple curving up of the lips, but the effects of this effortless facial expression will blow you away! If nothing else, once you take a peek at the innumerable physical and emotional benefits of smiling you will surely feel compelled to turn that frown upside down a whole lot more! Heard the saying, ‘laughter is the best medicine’? Well, there is more truth and gravity to that statement than you could ever have imagined. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that if anything, smiling is the art of happiness. Everything about this simple facial expression is connected to joy, happiness, positivity, contentment and elation! So let those lips curve up to illuminate your face with a simple smile, and watch as the world starts to feel like a better place almost instantaneously.
Did you know that Charles Darwin suggested that people do not always smile because they are in a happy, positive emotional state? He suggested that simply engaging the muscles that one uses while smiling has a positive effect on the brain, and helps to lift your spirits and improve your mood! And recent research has substantiated this claim by proving that our brain uses these facial muscles to analyze and determine our mood. A study conducted by Professor Fritz Strack portrayed how subjects who voluntarily engaged their smiling muscles when viewing cartoons were in higher spirits and a better mood than subjects who did not voluntarily make use of their smiling muscles. This research is further substantiated by studies that have recorded higher cases of depression among people who suffer from a facial paralysis condition which renders them incapable of utilizing their smiling muscles.
So how does a simple smile qualify for the title of the ‘art of happiness’? When you smile or laugh, your body is stimulated to release happy hormones into your blood stream. These happy hormones are called endorphins, and they work wonders in reducing the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body! Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, poor digestive functioning, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and an increased pulse rate. It’s almost miraculous how a simple smile can reduce the risk of falling prey to these debilitating ailments. Smiling and laughing also act as natural pain killers, as a means to rejuvenate and re-energize oneself, as immunity boosters and as effortless ways to adopt a more positive outlook on life.
When you smile you appear confident, composed and in control. People perceive you as an approachable and reliable person. So engage those muscles; do things that you love, spend time with people who cheer you up and brighten your day, watch movies or television shows that make you laugh, and think of happy times and funny memories! Smile, for with this simple facial expression you can brighten up your day, and maybe illuminate someone else’s day too.