The Effect of a Smile
I was going through the Tim Horton’s drive thru the other day and the lady who took my order was so cheery and bubbly through the speaker it made me laugh. Then when I paid for my order, she was so unbelievably nice and kind and made me feel really good that I couldn’t help but keep smiling for the next 10 minutes. I wasn’t having a bad day, but instantaneously I felt better. So I thought, what really happens when you smile?
Smiling actually takes less energy than frowning believe it or not. I know society is all about exercising as much as you can, however this is source of exercise I highly recommend we abandon! It takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown. On a purely metabolic and physiological basis, you should conserve energy and smile more. Think of how much more productive you could be in life when you have more energy?
When you experience a positive event, neural impulses travel from the brain cortex to the brain stem, and then to the muscles that cause you to smile; however, once you smile, those signals are then sent back to the brain re-inforcing our feelings of joy, a positive feedback loop. Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure inducer, cannot match. Smiling has the same effect on our brain as exercise – it makes us feel good, and the more you do it, the better you feel, it loops repetitively.
MRI’s show that when a person smiles, certain parts of the brain light up. If you make someone else smile, those same parts of the brain light up.
Smiling can change our brain: the brain actually keeps track of the number of smiles and how often you smile, and in this manner it can determine what emotional state you are in. More smiles = better emotional state!
And some more crazy smile stuff: there is a prominent research study known as the Yearbook Study that tracked the lives of women who had the best smiles in yearbook photos compared to the rest. Women who smiled the most lived happier lives, happier marriages, and had fewer setbacks.
Another study known as the Baseball Card study showed similar findings. There was a clear correlation between how big a smile someone made on a baseball card photo and how long they would live. Players who smiled the most turned out to live 7 years longer than those who didn’t.
Keep in mind these are correlations, not causations, however an interesting trend none the less.
Now don’t fret. If for some reason you have forgotten how to smile, or you have gotten yourself into a funk, you CAN re-train yourself to smile. All hope is not lost!
Why can’t you hear a Pterodactyl go to the bathroom? Because the P is silent. Got you started now!
Please feel free to visit Airdrie Chiropractors Access Chiropractic and Wellness south clinic’s website at www.accesschiropractic.net and our north clinic’s website at www.accesschiropracticnorth.ca, and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/accesswellness! You can also call to book with Dr. Bajor at the north location behind the Superstore at 403-945-1349 or contact the south location in the Airdrie CO-OP at 403-945-0855 to book with Dr. Jacqueline Boyd!
Drs. Jacqueline Boyd and Paul Bajor are also both registered and active members of the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association).