A deep inner smile spreads like a relaxing elixir, making us receptive to transforming negative energy into positive. Conversely, a scowl suppresses the immune system by increasing stress and blocking energy. Research by French physiologist Dr Israel Waynbaum indicates that facial muscles used to express emotion trigger specific brain neurotransmitters. Smiling triggers happy healing hormones such as ecstatic endorphins and immune-boosting killer T-cells, whereas frowning triggers the secretion of stress hormones.
Smile therapy lowers the stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline and produces hormones that stabilise blood pressure, relax muscles, improve respiration, reduce pain, accelerate healing and stabilise mood.1 If you’re feeling down, the stress hormones secreted with a scowl may increase blood pressure, weaken the immune system, increase susceptibility to infections and exacerbate depression and anxiety.
But what if you don’t feel like smiling? Can you fake it till you make it? Though a heartfelt smile has a deeper effect, even a surface smile tricks the brain into releasing happy hormones, according to facial biofeedback research.2 And the more you smile, the more you want to smile, concluded a study where participants were either prevented from smiling or encouraged to smile by holding a pencil in their mouth (those who held the pencil in their teeth and were able to smile rated cartoons as funnier than those who held the pencil in their lips and couldn’t smile).3 This is because each time you smile, you reinforce happy neural pathways that fire more spontaneously with each subsequent use. Self-love smiling circuits then release healing nectar, while self-hate messages release toxins that breed disease, according to Taoism.
The smile trial
How often do you smile? Try the smile trial for a minute. Relax your face and let a subtle Mona Lisa smile spread from your eyes to your lips. Now frown and sense the emotional and energetic shift. Feel the difference? Considering it takes only 26 muscles to smile and 62 muscles to frown, why wear the strain of a scowl? As motivational speaker Les Giblin says, “If you’re not using your smile, you’re like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no check book.” Experience the benefits of smile therapy and help spread its loving energy to others.
* The inner smile is subtle and natural. It is not a superficial smile set on a fake expression masking hidden motives and meaning.
* Before practising the inner smile, install smiling energy into your cellular memory by remembering and reliving happy moments.
* Organs like our lungs and heart store emotional garbage, so to clear inner clutter, smile to the major organs to detoxify negative emotions.
* The inner smile can be practised at any time and for any duration.
* Once you are filled with an inner smile it naturally overflows to others, so remember to smile as much as you can!
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