According to a recent study published by the journal Psychological Science, smiling big, which includes using the muscles around your mouth and eyes, can measurably lower your heart rate after a stressful event. “Whether you feel happy while smiling doesn’t matter,’ says lead author on the study Tara Kraft.
That means when you need a pick me up, just smile. Changing the shape of your mouth and eyes will change the shape that your mind is in. Just more proof on how related your mind and body are.
If you are ready to take it a little further, try some laughing yoga. Yes, that really exists. When done in a group setting, students are asked to maintain eye contact with other students while creating laughter. On your own, just give yourself a little giggle and see how your body reacts. Laughter doesn’t just relax your body, it also boosts the immune system, triggers the release of feel-good endorphins and protects your heart function.
So give yourself a smile and laugh today for better health. Even better, share a smile or laugh with others. It’s contagious in a good way!