There’s power in your smile. Power to calm fears, make others smile, bring happiness to yourself and others, and change your mood. It’s instinctual. When we’re feeling happy on the inside, our face can’t resist the formation of a smile. Messages are sent from the brain and the muscles react.
Smiling is such simple gesture but with some biological implications. How does it work? The oldest part of the brain, the brainstem, receives a message from the cortex that happiness is being experienced. From there, the cranial muscle carries the “happy” signal forward toward the “smiling” muscles on your face. The “smiling” muscles then contract creating positive feedback that loops back to the brain creating the reinforcement of joy. Some research identifies that chocolate cannot match the positive effect that a smile holds.
The more we smile the greater the reinforcement of joy to our brain which encourages even more smiling. It’s a loop of happiness. A loop of happiness that comes with some natural health benefits. When a smile spreads across your face the feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are released. This reduces your stress level, relaxes your body, and lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It also serves as an antidepressant without the negative side effects of prescription drugs. Endorphins can also serve as a natural, no prescription needed, pain reliever. That really does give you something to smile about, right!?!
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
About the Author:
Wendy J Hutterer, Licensed Practicing Counselor, Aging Program Manager and Advocate.
My professional passion is to promote each individuals highest level of mind/body health and wellness by empowering each person with the tools to actively engage in the creation of what a happy and content life means to them.
My personal passions include my husband, my sons, family members, and friends, running, playing the piano, my faith, volunteering, and enjoying the small everyday moments that bring great happiness.
Embrace life and keep smiling!