I mentioned before a friend who went on a Buddhist retreat and learned the best way to start the day was to simply smile upon waking.
She'd just lie there and grin to herself for a few moments before getting up. She said it was something she would continue doing forever - it really set her up for the day.
She even had a sign by her bed to remind her to smile every morning!
And now some researchers at the University of Kansas have shown why it works. They've found that even if we only pretend to smile, we de-stress and feel happier. Yep, they shoved chopsticks in the mouths of volunteers to mimic the smiling action of their facial muscles and even though they didn't know they were supposed to be smiling, it still worked!
Apparently, the act of our faces being in a smiling expression, tells our brain that we are not in any danger. So we relax and our blood-pressure lowers and our heart rate slows and we feel better........
You don't have to mean it. Try it. Just fake a smile and maybe you'll find, in a few seconds, that it works for you too. Or for a good laugh, try the chopsticks. Go on. Give it a go right now. Go on! Just for me....
You can see a summary of the research here
And next time you find yourself feeling stressed or upset, why not try smiling and see what happens?
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