seattle japanese garden panorama

smile darn ya smile

imagine if you could get a supporter to flash a true genuine smile at you on the regular bases. you would probably initially say whoop-dee-doo. maybe that response could use some reexamination.

imagine seeing a friend approaching from a distance. a smile would likely start to spread across your face, the dearer the friend, the bigger the smile. your friend would likely have a similar response. remember how that felt? imagine you could relive this experience on a regular bases.

people, when they smile, release neuropeptides, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. neuropeptides help the neurons throughout the body communicate better.  this allows for one part of the body to know what is going on with another part of the body. dopamine helps us to control our emotions and movement.  it also helps us recognize and move toward reward. endorphins work as an all natural paint reliever, free of any side effects. serotonin works to raise the mood of an individual. i think you would agree that all of these have a positive affect and can counter some of the symptoms of depression.

research by mark g. frank, phd and paul ekman, phd has shown that a person is more likely to smile when surrounded by positive emotions. additionally the higher count of positive emotions, along with a stronger positive emotion, lead to the increased likelihood of the person smiling.

so, seeing a smile gives a chance to break out into a smile yourself. and with that smile, you get a dose a neuropeptides, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. seeing enough smiles soon could begin to move your needle back towards healthy.

don’t have a supporter to smile at you on a regular basis? do not lose hope. other recent research by tara kraft and sarah pressman holds a another answer. the answer lays in a plain ole ordinary #2 pencil. yep, that’s all. the researches found that putting a pencil in the mouth to turn up the edges of the mouth, creating what is called a duchenne smile, caused people to respond better in stressful situation than those with a neutral face. perhaps this forced smile has similar positive affects as a real smile.

make life worth while, smile, darn ya, smile

do it for your own health and well being. Find a supporter to give you a genuine smile to trigger one in you. In absence of that, learn how to use a pencil to make a Duchenne smile. The hope being that these smiles start to generate brain chemicals which will move you closer to a goal of feeling healthy.


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