How to trick your brain into thinking you are happy

Yes, you can “fake out” your own brain.

Smiling fools your brain into thinking you are happy, then this creates actual happiness.  A smile spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin*.

Now here’s the fake-out:  Our brain isn’t good at telling the difference between a smile because you are happy and a fake smile.

Smiles by Peggy

But wait . . . there’s more

A study performed by a group at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who could not frown due to botox injections were happier on average than those who could frown.”

“And there are plenty more studies out there:  Researchers at the University of Kansas published findings that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress and lower heart rate in tense situations; another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while yet another suggests that smiling leads to longevity.”

Smiling enhances our Immune system

“More than happiness is at stake.  Dr. Murray Grossan, an ENT-otolaryngologist looks at the study of how the brain is connected to the immune system. He asserts that it has been found “over and over again” that depression weakens your immune system, while happiness boosts your immune system.”

“What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity,” says Dr. Grossan. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.”

Smiles are contagious

“This is because we have mirror neurons that fire when we see action,” says Dr. Eva Ritzo, As its name suggests, mirror neurons enable us to copy or reflect the behavior we observe in others and have been linked to the capacity for empathy.”

“Try smiling into the mirror. Dr. Ritzo recommends smiling at yourself in the mirror, an act she says not only triggers our mirror neurons, but can also help us calm down and re-center if we’re feeling low or anxious.”

So SMILE and pass on a dose of neurochemical happy

*Dopamine increases our feelings of happiness. Serotonin release is associated with reduced stress. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression and aggression.  Low levels of dopamine are also associated with depression.

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14 thoughts on “How to trick your brain into thinking you are happy

  1. Thank you for this interesting post. I am sending a big smile your way and will continue to smile frequently. Funnily, meditation suggest that you keep a small smile on your face as you meditate. So, back ups to the theory everywhere.
    Apart from which, smiling is more fun than frowning.

    Miriam

    Like

    • Miriam,
      I have read a bit about meditation, but did not know a small smile was suggested. Thanks for your information! Keep smiling. I understand smiles take less effort that frowns, too.
      Peggy

      Like

  2. My grinning lips, oh dopamine,
    How easy ‘tis to fool my brain
    Convinced I am a happy fan
    I’ve won luck with jubilance
    Grant me please one more wish
    A skinny figure on a dessert dish
    If you can use chemicals as a tool
    You must convince this lady fool
    Chocolate cake is not so good
    Green veggies are delicious food
    So when I next get on the scale
    It doesn’t yell, “Get off me, whale”

    Liked by 1 person

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