#36alive 353: Practice Smiling For Extra Happiness

Whether you can’t wait for Christmas, you’re feeling stressed out with all the preparation, you aren’t a fan of Winter, or you feel you’re having a pretty good time all round, it’s always good to know how to hack happiness and find it when we need it most.

Body language and facial expression can go a long way towards changing our emotions, and when emotions change, they start a feedback loop if positivity in the body. Smiling is just one way to elicit this instant happiness, even if it’s not a totally genuine one!

When we smile, the body releases ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins – these are natural pain-relievers, they lower levels of inflammation, and are incredibly powerful for de-stressing. This could also come in handy when you’re faced with not-so welcome guests or difficult-to-deal-with relatives….

  • To practice, start by placing a pencil between your teeth. Doing this literally forces the mouth to smile a big cheesy grin and you’re likely to notice a difference straight away.
  • Next, use your eyes to smile too – crease up the edges just like you would in a real smile.
  • To boost your happiness even more, think of something that makes you feel positive, and you’ll literally release a rush of happiness-boosting hormones into your body.

Give it a try! And perhaps buy a few extra pencils for when the family arrives on Christmas day….

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