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Painted Brain | The Mental Health Benefits Of Smiling And Laughing
We're bridging communities and changing the conversation about mental illness using arts and media.
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The mental health benefits of smiling

The Mental Health Benefits Of Smiling And Laughing


Did you know that smiling and laughing have positive benefits to your well-being?

Smiling is not only a nonverbal communication cue that signals friendliness; it also has a number of health benefits according to research. When you smile and laugh there are a number of physiological changes that occur in your body and this happens mostly without you being consciously aware of it.

What exactly does smiling and laughing do?

When you smile endorphins are released by the movements of the muscles in your face that is interpreted by your brain. Endorphins are hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system. Endorphins allow the body to feel calm and relaxed. They are responsible for making us feel happy and lower stress levels. The more we stimulate our brain to release this hormone the more we feel happy and relaxed. Endorphins can also act as a body’s natural painkillers. For example, laughing off the pain when you fall over. Increased endorphins can reduce the negative feeling stress and anxiety bring us. A good laugh can be a way to release emotions too, particularly those emotions that are bottled inside. Having a good laugh can make us look at life in a more positive way and also provides social interactions. Smiling and laughing is seen as an attractive expression that results in making a person more approachable which makes interactions with others easier and enjoyable.

What can you do to help you smile or laugh more?

  • You can watch funny shows, movies and avoid negative programs that can make you feel gloomy instead of happy.
  • Spend time with friends and family that make you feel happy. Surrounding yourself with people who can make you smile or laugh will increase your chances of increasing those endorphins.
  • Find things that make you smile and laugh about. Ex. jokes, funny pictures, memes).
  • You can fake a smile or laugh! The brain doesn’t differentiate between real or fake since it interprets the positioning of the facial muscles the same way.

Let’s smile more and be less grumpy! Remember that smiling or laughing contributes to your well-being.

Something to start you off with:

“Doctor,” said the receptionist over the phone, “there’s a patient here who thinks he’s invisible.”

“Well, tell him I can’t see him right now.”

Wink, wink.

 

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