Put away your purses and prescriptions people – we are about to give you the best remedy for the blues and it cost absolutely NOTHING! What is this miracle drug you ask? It's your smile! So, get into the power seat of your mind and put a smile on that dial! Not only is your smile is contagious, it also lifts our mood and the mood of people around us. It makes us appear or rather makes us more attractive and above all it can lengthen our lives!
We love how Sarah Stevenson describes what happens in your brain in her blogpost for Psychology Today; “Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain.”
She goes on to describe how smiling activates neuropeptides (molecules that allow neurons to communicate) that fight stress. They also facilitate messaging to the whole body to let us know when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited etc. When you smile your brain releases the neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, all powerful chemicals for your health and happiness. Let’s talk about these little goodies:
Dopamine affects your emotions, movements and sensations of pleasure and pain. It helps to control the brains reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine keeps us focused and helps us identifying and taking actions rewards. It's responsible for physical movement, helps your working memory, affects how you learn and behave and helps your decision-making and creativity.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters, which means that they pass along signals from one neuron to the next. They mostly hang out in the regions of the brain that are responsible for blocking pain or controlling emotion. Endorphins get fired up as a response to certain stimuli, especially stress, fear or pain, but they also control our feelings of pleasure and they encourage us to go after those good feelings.
Serotonin is another neurotransmitter and is commonly regarded as the chemical that's responsible for mood balance. It’s made in the brain and the intestines, 80-90% hangs out in the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is believed to play a key role in the central nervous system as well as the general functioning of the body. As it's a neurotransmitter it influences directly and indirect the majority of brain cells. It affects your mood and social behavior as well as appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, bone density, sexual desire and function.
Each time you smile your body releases these powerful feel good chemicals in your brain letting them go rushing though your body like magic – activating reward centers, making you look GREAT and increases the chance of you living a longer happier and healthier life. So share that favor with the people around you, it’s contagious!