via A Smile a Day – The Little Known Health Benefits of Smiling via Cynthia Perkins of Holistic Help
We’ve all heard that an apple a day will keep the doctor away, but you did know the same may be true of a smile? Regardless of whether you are trying to overcome an existing health condition or practice preventative measures, the simple act of maintaining a smiling face is a powerful and affordable self-care strategy to optimize your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Yes, it’s true; this basic human expression that each and everyone of us possess, beginning in the womb, has the potential to improve immune function, heighten spirituality, reduce stress hormones, boost mood, gain the trust and admiration of those around you and much more. The possibilities that exist in a happy expression can move mountains.
Smiling Boosts Neurotransmitters
Smiling helps build new neuronal pathways in the brain. These neurons plug into your brain circuitry and maintain brain function, preserving memory, logic, and learning skills. Neurotransmitters carry information between neurons and govern pretty much everything in the mind and body either directly or indirectly.
Smiling has a positive impact on the balance of neurotransmitters, calming your nervous system and stabilizing your mood in the midst of everyday stressors.
A smiling face stimulates a dopamine response. Dopamine is our reward or pleasure neurotransmitter, it provides us with feelings of pleasure to ensure we will repeat behaviors needed for survival. It improves energy, focus, mood, attention, alertness and libido and provides feelings of joy, confidence, happiness, an overall sense of well-being and a mild euphoria. It is like a natural cocaine.
Smiling also boosts serotonin. Serotonin plays a significant role in modulating body temperature, sleep, pain, mood, and appetite and improves self-esteem, our sense of well-being and contentedness with life as well. It is like a natural anti-depressant and also produces mild euphoria.
The neurotransmitter dopamine elevates when you anticipate that an activity will lead to feeling good. Dopamine brings out goal-driven behavior that drives you to complete the activity.
The enjoyable part of an event produces serotonin. Dopamine is associated with excitement and the anticipation of a reward, and serotonin brings about relaxation and satisfaction after you have received it.
Smiling may also increase the production of GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that balances the activity of excitatory neurotransmitters like epinephrine and norepinephrine. It’s like a natural tranquilizer; providing us with calm and relaxation.
A smile on your face also stimulates the creation of endorphins. These neurotransmitters relieve pain, heighten self-esteem, create feelings of well-being and a mild euphoria.Endorphins are known for their positive effects on mood after physical activity. Studies have found that a single smile can produce the same level of stimulation to neurotransmitters in the brain as 2000 chocolate bars. Chocolate makes you feel good because of its impact on serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, but unlike the chocolate, a smile comes with none of the negative side-effects of chocolate like overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system etc.
The same study found that a smile can produce the same level of brain stimulation as receiving $25,000. That means if you ’re smiling a lot every day, you can essentially feel like a millionaire.
Chronic pain, mood disorders, and addictions of all kinds stem from imbalances in brain chemistry. Keeping dopamine, serotonin, GABA and endorphins balanced is key for prevention or healing of these conditions.
Additionally, all these neurotransmitters play a major role in modulating the stress response system and the level of spiritual fulfillment one may experience in life. One’s ability to feel connected to self, others, and the Universe and find inner peace, meaning and purpose in life is enhanced.
A smile may seem like too simple of a solution, and it certainly will not bring about complete healing in and of itself, however when used in combination with diet, nutritional supplements and other steps to improve neurotransmitter function and production it has the power to prompt a chain of events that can help bring your body and mind into homeostasis. Click here to read more…