Smile. Nature's Stress Reliever•
Posted on May 12 2020
It may be old news, because the most recent study that I can find is from 2017. I could find nothing to say that this "old" news has been debunked, so we're going with it. What does science say?
Smiling makes you happier and is a natural reliever of stress.
Seriously. Stop reading. Smile.
Doubt me? I heard it in a TED talk so it can't be wrong. Have time? Watch it. Listen to Ron talk about the Hidden Power of Smiling. (The Mayo Clinic ups the ante and says that while laughter may not be the best medicine for everything -they are the Mayo Clinic after all- that laughter is a good stress reliever. But see how gentle I'm being, I'm not pushing you that far, just a smile. )
An article in the Huffington Post quotes Sarah Pressman (one of the researchers who led the study) saying "The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress, you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment. Not only will it help you 'grin and bear it' psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well!" Remember traffic?
Even if you are not feeling like it. It's not like there aren't about a million things that you don't want to do that you do. In SiP? Quadruple that! Did you want to do the laundry? No. But there was a benefit to it. Did you want to make dinner? Possibly not your first choice, but there was benefit to it. What else? Go for it. Make a list of all of the things that you have done in the past 8 weeks that you have not wanted to do. Then stop. Now Smile:) Just for 7 seconds.
The Smithsonian also published an article on this finding stating "The connection between facial expressions and underlying mental states is still largely unexplored, but some have suggested that smiling could reduce levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. "
Meditation just not your thing? Try smiling.
I may be a mom, and I may be annoying(to my kids, never anyone else;) but I am not a liar:)
Speaking of kids. Have them join you. Here's some inspiration. Have them mimic each of these smiles and take their picture. Yes, you have to play the game too. But you knew that, eh?
Oh! And the other things about smiles? They're contagious:) And we could use a little of that that is good these days.