You see someone smiling on the bus, in a video or on television, and by mimicry, you will in the vast majority of cases also smile. As contagious as yawning, smiling is logically attached to something positive and linked to intimate feelings like friendship, love or sympathy. But beyond this concept, smiling also has effects on your body.
Boosts your immune system
In July 2021, an article published on the website of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, USA, reveals some of the effects of smiling on your brain such as providing positive thinking. In addition, using an ‘uplifting’ laugh triggers the ‘release of neuropeptides that help fight stressand potentially more serious diseases’.
Conversely, holding negative thoughts in mind can:
Trigger various chemical reactions in the body that can simultaneously increase stress and decrease immunity.
The laughter and smiles generated will therefore be important allies during more difficult times.
In 2015, a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that women who were used to laughing and had just given birthreleased more neurotransmitters in their bodies than those who smiled less.
A healthy mind in a healthy body
As you may have noticed, when someone feels bad about themselves or is going through a difficult time, it shows. Whether it's in the way they look at you or the way they move.
There is in fact a scientifically proven cause and effect relationship between the mind and the body. A person who smiles is more likely to be noticed, to be less slumped and to raise their chest, as revealed by a study published by the American Psychological Association.
Forcing a smile to feel better?
Did you know that it is possible to trick your own brain? When you are going through a difficult ordeal such as the loss of a loved one or the arrival of a difficult exam, negative thoughts, as explained above, can arise. As reported by Health Digest, aforced smile would stimulate the amygdala area, where the brain's emotions are present. In a University of Australia study, Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos states that this releases neurotransmitters to encourage a positive emotional state.
Also, do you know why smiling is contagious? It is in fact an unconscious mimicry action performed to ‘empathise’ with the other person. The better you mimic them, the better you understand what they are feeling.
This article is translated from Gentside FR.