Two interesting comments this weekend got me thinking ….
“Today was a great day, “said my mom, “because we laughed a lot!”
“I learned this week from my daughter,” said my sis, “that whether you feel happy and then smile, or smile then feel happy, the exact same mechanisms and channels are in use”. What exactly that means I’m not sure, but, it sounds to me like even if you’re not feeling that terrific, you can try and smile, and you may get some happiness neurotransmitters released. Which seems a good idea, since it might start you on your way to laughter. And that, my mom, a very wise woman says, helps you have a great day!
And who doesn’t want a great day?!
What with “News” always meaning, “Bad news!” And our classic childhood protectors, the police, being redefined as the bad guys. And general anxiety at its peak, to the point where we might want to amend the word society to “sanxiety”. Who can resist some extra opportunities for laughter in their life?!
A good giggle or a great” hahaha” seems to release a lot of pent up tension. Which many have, if not close to the surface, hidden in the recesses of their mind. Being able to just blast out a laugh may be a lot more fun than hours of therapy, which may still be necessary. Though, if addressed with a little levity, might not seem as daunting. It certainly could be a useful tool to have at your command to try and replace crying, disconnecting, drinking, or worse.
So how do we get to —-smile. And then can that really bring us all the way to —laugh?
Warning – Do not try this at home alone, woops correction, do not try this on a subway with sketchy characters.
Begin following steps as you read …
Step one- elongate your lips out to the sides. This you’ll notice also alerts some awareness in your eyes.
Step two- slowly begin to show your upper teeth.
Step three -Now exaggerate it and show your bottom teeth as well.
Caution- do not separate your tongue from your palate. You may want to also check your molars are together.
Step 4 – Give it your all -and hold it!
There, you’ve done it, you should be in a full scale smile at this point. Stick with it. And …Let the endorphins flow.
Neuropeptides are activated with this simple action. These tiny molecules cause neurons (no not morons, neurons) to communicate. “Feel good Neurotransmitters” are released, such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin. They help relax your body. They can slow the heart down or lower blood pressure. Endorphins are a natural pain reliever, so let them course through your body. And serotonin acts as an antidepressant, so let it flow through your mind. Best of all- all this is produced with no messy side effects!
Furthermore, the journal of Neuropsychologia reported that seeing a smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region that processes sensory reward. This means when you see a smiling face you suddenly feel rewarded! So follow all the steps above, and run, do not walk, to a mirror immediately. That why you’ll see a smiling face right away, upfront and personal!
Studies also show that smiles are contagious. They showed that when people saw a smiling face it took effort for them to frown. They automatically mimicked the smiling facial expression.
Finally, studies show people reported “smiling people” to be better looking than other faces. Wow – that’s a lot less trouble then all the grooming we usually require to be good looking!!
It really seems like smiling saves a lot of money, time, and trouble by greatly reducing the need for pills, therapists, doctors, waxing, makeup, hairdressers, etc.
So smiling really sounds like a win win!
Now – if all that isn’t something to laugh about, I don’t know what is?!
Rivki Rosenwald is a certified relationship counselor, and career and life coach. She can be contacted at 917-705-2004 or firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com