The human face has 44 muscles which allow you to make more than 5,000 different types of facial expressions. Smiling and laughing make us feel better and are one of the easiest expressions to make—only 17 muscles are used to smile as opposed to 43 muscles used to frown. Smiling and laughing can not only signify a positive, happy mood, but they can also make you feel better in general too.
Smiling And Laughing Make Us Feel Better And Reduce Stress
Both smiling and laughing can help to reduce stress. According to a University of Kansas study in Psychological Science, smiling can lower your heart rate, slow your breathing and otherwise lower your body’s stress responses—even if it’s a fake smile and regardless of how happy you actually feel.
Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and increases the level of health-enhancing hormones, like endorphins. It also provides a physical and emotional release of pent-up energy that can be beneficial for relieving stress.
Make You Feel Happier—Even When You Fake It
Even when you fake smiling or laughing, the action can still make you happier despite how you feel. It may not cure unhappiness completely, but it can lessen the load and make your mood tip toward happiness just a little bit more. Most of the time, you don’t laugh without smiling, and when you curl your lips into a smile, your brain begins to react physiologically to that particular positioning of your mouth.
Some research suggests that when you smile, you are tightening your facial muscles which slows the blood flow and cools the blood traveling to your brain. Cooler blood in your brain helps to release happier emotions. Warmer blood, which can be worsened by frowning and the widening of those blood vessels, has the opposite effect. So, even when you are faking a smile, just by contorting your face in that particular way, you can be physiologically making yourself feel better.
Encourage Others to Smile
Research shows that humans often mimic the facial expressions of those around them. This means that when you smile, it is more likely that the person or people you are around will smile back. Ever smile at a stranger in the grocery store, only to have them smile right back? It’s the same effect. They say laughter is infectious as well, spreading easily from person to person.
When other people around you are smiling and happy, this in turn will make you feel happier overall. So why not start the positive chain reaction and smile at everybody? It’ll do you a great amount of good in the end.
Smiling and laughing are two great ways to both reinforce a good mood and move toward one if you’re feeling down. Whether you fake it or not, you stand to benefit from a smile or a laugh whenever you might need it.
How to Increase Laughter in Your Life
Laughter is your birthright, an essential and inborn aspect of existence. Infants begin to smile throughout their first weeks of life and begin to laugh out loud within months of birth. Even if you did not grow up in a family where laughter was a typical occurrence, you may learn to laugh at any age.
Begin by setting out particular times to seek out comedy and laughter, just like you would with exercise, and work your way up from there. Eventually, you’ll want to weave humour and laughter into the fabric of your life, discovering it in unexpected places.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Smiling is the precursor of laughing, and it, like laughter, is contagious. Practice smiling whenever you look at someone or observe something even marginally enjoyable. Instead of gazing down at your phone, glance up and smile at folks you pass on the street, the person who serves you coffee in the morning, or your coworkers in the elevator. Take note of the impact on others.
Count your lucky stars. Make a list of everything. The simple act of thinking about the positive things of your life can keep you away from negative thoughts that prevent you from laughing. When you’re depressed, you have to go a little deeper to find comedy and amusement.
Move toward the sound of laughing. Sometimes humour and laughter are private, a shared jest among a small group, but most of the time they are not. More often than not, individuals are delighted to share something amusing because it allows them to laugh again and feed off the comedy you find in it. When you hear laughing, go in search of it and inquire, “What’s funny?”
Incorporate humour into your talks. “What’s the funniest thing that occurred to you today?” ask folks. What about this week? Throughout your life?”