When we think of the holiday season, we know that we’re supposed to conjure up thoughts that will put a smile on our face. Unfortunately, the holidays often also bring about stress. Stress about finding the perfect gift, spending extended time with family or possibly even the feeling of loneliness. One excellent gift we can give others and ourselves is a simple smile.
When we feel joy and smile, a signal in our brain tells us it’s happy time. Release the stress-reducing hormone dopamine! The dopamine allows us to physically feel good giving us another reason to smile. And continues the upward spiral.
But what if we’re just faking it. You know the smile, the one that uses only the muscles at the corner of our mouth, and ignores the muscles around our eye that lend to the sparkle? Good news, that action also releases dopamine! Also, when someone sees your beautiful smiling face, whether its real or fake, it releases dopamine in their brain too.
The decrease in stress hormones from smiling can be equivalent to getting more sleep, the endorphin rush from exercising or eating chocolate. And yet, it doesn’t cost money or time to smile. So this holiday season, put on your best accessory and smile.
If you want a little extra help de-stressing this season, consider coming in for an acupuncture treatment. Give yourself a gift of health and happiness.