It’s said that laughter is the best medicine, and I agree wholeheartedly. Like crying, laughter is an emotional release that can have lasting benefits. Laughing reduces stress, relieves pain and even boosts the immune system. Plus, a good hearty laugh can be a good ab workout. Studies show that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and seratonin. The sad truth is, however, we don’t laugh nearly enough.
According to funfactz.com, children laugh about 400 times a day, whereas adults only laugh about fifteen times a day. Of course, children don’t have nearly the same worries as adults, but there’s nothing stopping us adults from tapping into our inner child to harness presence through laughter.
Watching funny movies, talking to your friend who should be doing stand-up comedy, spinning around the room until you get dizzy, swinging at the park, rollerblading, and even smile therapy can help reduce the release the stress hormone cortisol, and increase the release of feel-good endorphins.
Smile therapy, you ask? Yes, smile therapy. It’s an alternative to traditional psychotherapy and medication that involves smiling (even if you don’t feel like it) to trigger the release of neurotransmitters that make us feel happy and melt away stress. There’s a psychological phenomena known as the facial feedback hypothesis. The hypothesis simply states that facial movements can effect emotional experience. In other words, if you force a big smile on your face, you’ll actually feel like smiling. Try it now. Stop reading, and force a giant grin and hold it for a count of five to ten. You’ll notice that smile remains on your face after you’ve stopped the conscious effort.
In my previous post, “Don’t bury your head in the dirt,” I talk about waking up slowly and bringing awareness to how you’re feeling before jumping up and tackling the day. So, let’s add smile therapy onto our morning wake up routine. After you’ve done your body scan and accepted any and all feelings with gratitude, force a big grin and start your day with a smile.
“Peace begins with a smile”
– Mother Teresa
– Your Charmed Yogi
Awesome. And so true. I actually do try to make myself smile when I’m having a cr*ppy day because – you are totally right – it works!
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