Mental Wellness Wednesday | The power of a smile

It is National Smile Power Day and if you woke up with a frown – here is the power of a smile. Researchers from the UK found that 1 smile generates a similar level of brain stimulation as up to 2000 bars of chocolate!! Why? Bc it activates your reward center in the brain. (the same researchers also found that it is equally stimulating as receiving $25k in cash!)

Take aways:

1. Smiling reduces stress

Smiling releases neuropeptides in your brain that fight off stress.

2. Smiling is contagious

Humans are inbuilt with something called “facial mimicry” – this allows us to mimic someone’s expressions and fosters empathy. Smiling activates this facial mimicry system in others and lifts their mood as well.

3. Even a forced smile is a mood booster

Multiple studies show that even a fake smile as many mental health benefits (it boosts your mood, decrease stress) and can even increase your immune system. Quick tip to fake a smile: Bite a pencil! It activates the same facial muscles as a smile and tricks your brain into releasing “happy” neurochemicals (like dopamine and serotonin).

But if you find that you are constantly trying to “fake smile” due to chronic pressure, this may be a sign that you need to seek professional help.