One of your most effective tools for reducing stress is your smile. Not only when you feel like you have a good reason to smile, but also when you don’t.
Smiling has physical benefits. By smiling, you are sending the signal to your body that life is good, that everything is okay. In response to this signal, your body releases endorphins, the feel-good chemical. Endorphins can not only make you feel happier, but they reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.
By the way, endorphins are also referred to as the body’s own natural pain relievers. After all, endorphin is a combination of the words endogenous, which means “from within,” and morphine. Maybe not a miracle, but it can’t hurt!
Smiling lowers your stress in other ways as well. Stress often speeds up your breathing, which can then increase your stress level. Smiling can slow your breathing down. When you stop all of that hyper-breathing, you are more likely to feel more relaxed. Feeling relaxed can lead to an increase in immune cells.
Smiling is contagious. When you walk into a situation in which other people are feeling tense or angry, smiling can be disarming. A smile shows other people that you are open and friendly, and that you’re not looking for a confrontation. The result: less tension in your relationships.
And guess what? Smiling makes you look better! And who doesn’t want to look better?
Stressed out? Don’t wait until you feel like smiling. Just smile. Feel the good vibrations.
Altogether now: Say cheese!