Ten Reasons to Smile and Laugh Your Way Through the Holidays
Holidays can produce joy OR stress, or both! You can create your own holiday mood by taking control of your emotions using smiles and laughter. Your body will respond immediately with happy feelings when you smile – and if you want to make other people happy, follow the same recipe – smiling and laughter. Here are 10 reasons to Smile and Laugh your way through the holidays, including some great youtube links to laughter-inducing funniest home videos!
1. Smiling Triggers the Release of Endorphins
The more endorphins you release, the happier you are! When you smile the muscle movement in your face triggers your brain to activate neurotransmitters which release endorphins. Endorphins like dopamine and serotonin are our feel-good chemicals.
2. Smiling is a free anti-depressant!
Do it frequently and watch your mood get lighter and happier with every smile! Smile for absolutely NO reason at all. Watch funny films, TV and theater productions.
3. Smiling Lowers Stress – both for you and those around you
Since we’re talking about smiling as the trigger for the release of endorphins, the flip side of this is that by triggering the feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, we are simultaneously LOWERING our cortisol levels. When we get stressed out, cortisol is secreted, which continues to pile on more unpleasant feelings, anxiety and stress.
So, if a situation is starting to get stressful, SMILE. Next, allow yourself a brief moment to think of someone you love deeply and take 3 deep breaths. Your calm can be infectious. Even better, if you can get the other person to laugh, you can pat yourself on the back for reversing negativity.
4. Smiling and Laughing act as natural painkillers
Did you know that endorphins are natural painkillers? If you are in pain, laughing and smiling will help you manage your pain, and add more joy to your life. If you spill your coffee or make a mistake, let out a good laugh, take that deep breath and feel your tension melt away! Spend time with friends and family that make you happy. (America’s Funniest Home Videos)
5. Smiling lowers your blood pressure
When my husband, Dr. Brown, was doing an initial exam with a patient, I always knew when he was about to take their blood pressure. I’d hear guffaws of laughter from the exam room. He always proceeded the blood pressure with a good joke because he knew most patients were not at their most relaxed when visiting a doctor. He said the blood pressure readings were always lower and more accurate after the patient had just laughed.
6. Smiling reduces anxiety
Going to visit the in-laws for the holidays? Keep that smile going. The endorphins that you can generate will replace cortisol with serotonin and dopamine. These stop the “Stress Cascade” from gaining momentum and reverse the downward spiral.
7. Laughing is a great way to release emotions
Find things to laugh about – and have very low standards for what makes you laugh. Our dog makes us laugh on a daily basis. He’s just a funny little guy. Watch YouTube videos of funny kids or funny animals. Five minutes of this can change your day! (Funny dog videos)
8. Laughing draws people to you and makes you more attractive
Try an experiment. Stand in front of a mirror and look angry and upset. Feel how that makes your own body feel. (not so great, right?) Take a breath, and change your expression. Put a huge smile on your face and send love out from your eyes. Feel how your body has shifted. How does it feel to be radiating that smile and the love? Now I ask you, which person would you want to hang out with this holiday season?
9. Laughing expands your lungs
Laughing expands the lungs, replenishing your cells with a huge dose of fresh oxygen. It’s a form of exercise that requires no gym or yoga outfits! It’s free. It’s available 24/7. After you laugh, be aware of how your body feels right after the laughing feast. (Link to Funny Cat Videos)
10. When you smile you have a more positive effect on the environment
Have you ever walked through a store and encounter someone who has a big smile on their face? Your reaction was probably to smile back! When we go through our day, even if we are on the phone, with a smile on our face, we are giving the other person a gift. The gift is a “good vibration” of joy and well-being. At family gatherings, smiling frequently can positively impact everyone in the room!