Smile and be happy

5th February 2021

A smile helps you feel happier — and being happier helps you keep the smile going in a genuine way. 

When we feel great, a smile comes naturally. It’s an outward sign of joy, happiness, appreciation, amusement, excitement, or contentment.

It’s not natural to smile when we’re sad or upset. But it turns out that smiling might be the best thing to do when you’re ready to shift into a brighter mood.

Smiling Can Lift a Bad Mood
Just the simple act of putting a smile on your face can lead you to feel actual happiness, joy, or amusement.

Smiling on purpose changes brain chemistry. So it can be a big help to people who are dealing with depression and anxiety. 

Smile Like You Mean It
There’s just one trick to making smiling work for you: You need to do it right. A true, genuine smile is called a Duchenne smile. It uses all the muscles in the face, including the “laugh lines” around your eyes. Engaging all these muscles is important, even in a fake smile.

If you’re smiling on purpose to help your mood, you want to smile until your cheeks lift and you feel your laugh lines crinkle. You can see how it feels by holding a pencil horizontally between your teeth as you smile.

Here’s a simple exercise from Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh to help you tap into the benefits of smiling:

As you breathe in, say to yourself:
Breathing in, I calm body and mind.

Then, as you breathe out, think:
Breathing out, I smile.

By repeating this simple breathing exercise several times, you’re relaxing your nervous system and countering stress.

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