Shawn Achor, in his book The Happiness Advantage. compares smiling and happiness to the popular game Tetris. Tetris has a tendency to make such an impression on players that after it’s been shut off, people still see Tetris blocks in real life. According to Achor, we can do the same thing by practicing a more positive thinking pattern, which, ultimately creates a happiness loop.
Achor writes: “Happiness is a work ethic… It’s something that requires our brains to train just like an athlete has to train.” The more we train, the easier it becomes to think positively, shut out negativity, and, in turn, boost your productivity and creativity, which allows you to perform better at work and life.
All of those benefits can come from a simple smile. The more you do it, the more signals your brain will have to mentally shift to positive thoughts even when you might be in a situation that would normally cause you alarm.
Aside from your mental state, smiling can also end up saving your life, as Sondra Barrett claims in her book Secrets of Your Cells. The biochemist says that when you let go of tension—an outcome that can be achieved through smiling—your cells let go of their rigidness. According to Barrett’s research, this could end up saving your life as there are have been cases where cancer patients go into remission of cancer after letting go of a big stress factor.
“Our cells are more than just fortuitous arrangements of chemicals,” she explains. “They are a community of trillions of sentient entities cooperating to create a sanctuary for the human soul.”
So, scientifically, smiling is one of the more healthful things you can do for your life and it’s something you can literally train yourself to do. It doesn’t cost you anything to do it and you can actually fake it and get the same big results. Your career might even take a turn for the better as productivity increases, your attention span and cognitive abilities are improved, and you exude competence everywhere you go.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet on 7 ways that smiling is good for your health. Pull it our anytime you need to turn your frown upside down:
- Smiling Lifts Your Spirits! Even if you’re not feeling it… smile. The simple act of smiling, especially when you smile at someone else and they reflect that smile back at you, can trick your body and mind into thinking that you are actually happy.
- Smiling is a Stress Reliever! Physically, you are releasing your jaw muscles which tend to be tightened in times of stress. The jaw muscles attach to the neck muscles which, when tightened, can lead to headaches. You also LOOK less stressed since you minimize those frown lines on your forehead. I’ll take smile lines any day!
- Smiling Boosts the Immune System! When you smile, your body naturally relaxes. When you are relaxed, your immune system is able to function optimally, helping fight off colds and flu.
- Smiling Lowers Blood Pressure! When you relax your mind and your face by smiling, you actually lower your blood pressure. Sit and enjoy the view, pet your pup, or do something that you enjoy and smile for 5 minutes and you will notice a difference.
- Smiling is a Natural Pain Killer! It’s been shown that smiling helps the body to naturally release endorphins and serotonin which work together to help us feel better and minimize the sensation of pain.
- Smiling Makes You Look Younger! Smiling helps soften the lines and wrinkles on the forehead while adding youth to your eyes. Forget about getting a facelift! Smile instead if you want to immediately shed years off your face.
- Smiling Makes You Appear Confident & Successful! People who look confident and approachable are more likely to be promoted in business. So put on a smile at work, even in a stressful meeting, and see how differently others respond to you.
Now go share the love sunshine. Soon you won’t be able to help yourself, smiling is contagious!
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