When we are feeling down usually the last thing we want to hear is cheer up. Just put on a happy face even if you don’t feel like it. These types of things are generally annoying and not something you would believe. But science has shown that smiling can boost your mood, immune system, lower stress and possibly increase your amount of time on this earth. But how?!
While it is easy to smile when we are happy it can actually be key to smile when we aren’t. When we smile it actually has a chemical effect on our brain releasing chemicals like dopamine and serotonin which are linked to feeling good and low levels of these are linked to high stress and depression.
So when we even fake smile it can trigger in us to actually start to feel happy. Not only that but it can also increase your immune system. The physical act of smiling can reduce heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress, increase your immune system and actually make you start to feel happier.
Smiling is also easy to pass along, just like a yawn smiling is contagious. How many times have you walked down a street for a stranger to smile at you and you return the smile. It’s customary but then you may find yourself smiling more after that relatively simple exchange. The science behind this is that we have mirror neurons that fire when we see action. These neurons allow us to copy or reflect the behavior we observe in others which has been linked to the capacity for empathy.
This doesn’t just stop with others but can actually be seen by smiling at ourselves. Looking at yourself in the mirror and smiling allows yourself to calm down and re-center if your feeling anxious or low.
While all the science proves we should smile at our lowest points it can be hard to do. This is because it goes against everything we are feeling and seems completely disingenuous. But it’s something that if worked at can change your mood and overall health. So next time your feeling down try smiling. It may be just what the doctor ordered.