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Here's our review of last weeks #HealthyHabits2017 challenge. Last week we had to smile and laugh purposefully for up to five minutes daily. It was a pretty feel good task and left us with all the positive vibes.

Smiling and laughing actually have more health benefits than you would guess and many studies have been done into how it effects your body.

Smiling intently has the ability to improve our current mood as the muscles in your face can transform or reinforce the emotions you’re feeling. The act of smiling stimulates neural transmitters such as serotonin (Check out our Make you Happy post for more information on happiness hormones) and recent studies have found that if a person changes their facial expression, their mood begins to align with what’s going on on the surface as the brain evaluates mood in part by using those muscles.

Not only can you change your mood through smiling but you can train your brain to be more positive. Our minds are wired to think negatively as a form of protection but making smiling a habit can help our brains to create more positive thinking patterns. To be more positive takes effort and regular training and smiling can aid this.

Smiling can also reduce the stress or pain you’re feeling. Smiling relaxes your body and in turn this calms blood pressure and heart rates which can lead to quicker stress recovery. Both smiling and laughing release endorphins that lift our moods and act as natural painkillers. As your body relaxes when you smile this allows your immune system to function more efficiently. So watch those puppy videos when you’re feeling ill as the smiles will make you recover quicker.

People who make smiling more a part of their lives actually often live around 7 years longer in comparison their grumpier or more neutral counterparts. Probably because of the health benefits we’ve mentioned above. So get your grin on.

HOW DID WE DO?

The last week was good but also extremely busy so I had to remind myself a few times each day to keep smiling which may have worked out better in the long run. There were two days where I succeeded in smiling for five minutes straight and it was unbelievable how positive I felt after. I’m usually pretty optimistic but this was on another level, feeling properly uplifted and even more awake.

The first time I stood in front of a mirror and gave myself the cheesiest grin. I felt super weird at first and this made me laugh… becoming a perpetual cycle of feeling ridiculous while not being embarrassed as I was in the comfort of my own home grinning at myself. The second time was while I was doing the washing up, a task a dislike but made all the better by a simple smile on my face.

During the rest of the week I was working out of home so I tried to do my smiling routing while I was walking to the train or while I was working but I was very aware of my fellow grumpy Londoners and felt rather self conscious about looking like a looney, whereas I should have just thought I could make someone else happy through my smile as they’re contagious.

I’m a pretty positive person so it was quite easy to do. There was one day where I felt exhausted and like I didn’t have the energy to use anything in my brain but I’d made myself try a few times during the day so I felt that gave me some mini energy boosts.

I liked having to remind myself to smile throughout the day, it felt really good to do it as a spur of the moment thing for no reason so this I shall continue.

This week we’re looking at bringing music into our lives, a ukulele lesson is on the radar for me. What about you? See you next week.

 

Image by Ilka Mészely

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