May 15, 2015

Power of Smiles

Research from Echnische Universit├Ąt in Munich Germany shows a 2009 study. Scientists there used fMRI (functional MRI) imaging to measure brain activity in regions of emotional processing in the brain before and after injecting Botox to suppress smiling muscles. The findings showed that facial feedback (such as imitating a smile) actually modifies the neural processing of emotional content in the brain, and concluded that our brain’s circuitry of emotion and happiness is activated when we smile.

Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a pleasure inducer, cannot match. In a study conducted in the UK (using an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart-rate monitor to create “mood-boosting values” for various stimuli), British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; they also found that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to 16,000 Pounds in cash.

And unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.

Humans intrinsically know that smiling is powerful. This simple act goes a long way toward improving your mood and the mood of those around you, reducing stress, and spreading happiness in a way that is contagious.

Smile whenever you want to look great and competent, improve your marriage, or reduce your stress.

A smile is the least expensive, most thoughtful, and personal gift you can give.

Only the emotionally destitute are too poor to share a smile.

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