A smile a day keeps the psychiatrist away. Really. Several studies on the subjects have shown that you can trick your brain to think that you’re happier than you truly are just by smiling. So smiling is not only a sign of being in a good mood, but it also can improve your state of mind.
When shown different images, the subjects of the experiment found them more or less pleasant depending on whether they were instructed to smile or not while watching them. In other words, the brain interprets certain facial muscles movements as you being happy. Not knowing the difference between a fake smile and a genuine one, the brain releases endorphins which make us happier and more relaxed.
Another benefit of smiling is that it’s contagious. If you smile, people around you tend to smile as well which creates a better interaction and a friendlier environment.
Of course, a forced smile can only get us so far. A genuine smile or laugh can:
- Reduce stress
- Make you more confident
- Make others trust you more
Oh, and it also makes you look better in pictures.
Emotions are messy and trying to control them and make them work for us is a lifetime effort. But the brain, being the complex and awesome machinery that it is, can help us with that. Actually, it’s as easy as smiling when you see a baby panda rolling down a green field.
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