August 10th, 2009And remember…keep smiling
If you call my father’s phone and he doesn’t pick up, at the end of his voicemail message he says his famous line “and remember…… keep smiling”. I always thought it was a little corny as a kid, but I think that message is extremely important today – especially as we push through these difficult times. I wanted to share with you all this great article excerpt from Erika Perry about the power of positive energy. Enjoy!
Imagine a world void of caffeine and nicotine, a world where people are energized—dare we say—naturally. There’s more to it than food, water and rest. There’s the energy we receive from a stranger’s smile, a friend’s laugh, or a family member’s hug. This is the positive energy that charges us up and gives us the boost we need to, in exchange, exude positive energy ourselves. Of course, there is the flip side to every energy equation.
According to the famous psychological Swedish study “Unconscious Facial Reactions To Emotional Facial Expressions,” both positive and negative emotions are contagious. The researchers exposed participants to images of faces while they monitored their facial muscles through electromyographs (EMGs). When exposed to happy faces, participants moved their zygomatic major muscle (used in smiling); when exposed to sad faces, participants moved their corrugator supercilii muscle (used in frowning).
So, both smiling and frowning are contagious but is there an advantage to smiling versus frowning? According to Dr. Mark Stibich there is. The Duchenne smile specifically has the best results. Duchenne smiles are the ones that are real and authentic. The smiles where your eyes light up, and your face wrinkles. These smiles are proven to:
– Boost the immune system
– Increase positive affect
– Reduce stress
– Lower blood pressure
– Enhance other people’s perception of you
Laughter has many of the same health effects as smiling, just intensified. This would explain the rising boom in laughter yoga, and an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy.