The Science of Smiling
Studies indicate that the simple act of smiling can have a profound effect on your life. According to NBC News, it “can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.”
Even if your smile is forced and insincere, smiling triggers the release of chemicals in your brain called endorphins. These are neurotransmitters designed to provide relief in times of stress or trauma. That’s why endorphins are sometimes referred to as “nature’s painkillers.
When you reduce your stress levels, it benefits your overall health in a number of ways. That’s why smiling more often can actually make you healthier. In fact, “people who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease.”
Researchers at the University of Kansas came up with a clever way to demonstrate how smiling reduces stress. They had volunteers use chopsticks to force themselves to smile while performing a difficult task. These volunteers “experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery” compared to the research subjects who performed the same demanding task without using the chopsticks.