Smiling has physical, mental mood

By M P Jesu Priya Published on Oct 06, 2017 03:43 PM IST

Dr Sathish Kumar V, neurologist and stroke specialist

Chennai: Not a day passes for all of us without our sending out a smiley - either by e-mail, sms, on Facebook or WhatsApp. But as we are all hooked to the wired world, do we pause to smile at real people in the real world? This is the question to ponder on on World Smile Day, observed on the first Friday of October - which is today.

Dr Sathish Kumar V, neurologist and stroke specialist, Fortis Malar Hospital, said, "One of the easiest and cheapest ways to boost your health, your mood, your longevity and even your success is to smile. Smiling relaxes the facial muscles and calms the nervous system. It sends more oxygen to the brain that triggers the release of brain chemicals called endorphins. Blood pressure is lowered, it relieves stress and boosts the mood too."

Can there be a better reason to smile as much as you can in a day?

The neurologist adds many other medical aspects to the simple exercise of smiling.

* It releases serotonin which fights against mood disorders and stress

* It stabilises heart rate and improves blood pressure

* Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released into our body when we smile

* And the endorphins make us feel happier and less stressed

* This release of endorphins increases and the stress hormone cortisol is reduced

* When the smile grows into a laugh, it expands the lungs, stretches the muscles in the body and stimulates homeostasis (equilibrium)

* Smiling is one form of facial expression and has an emotional connect. Sometimes, it is voluntary and sometimes involuntary, and sometimes it is a genuine emotion and there are also fake smiles but both are good.

* When you smile, your body gets a reward

Nethra Balasubramaniam

On asked about the difference between real smile and fake smile, Sathish Kumar said, "Real smile is good because it is a genuine feeling; it is not only the outer expression it has inner network originating from the areas of the brain which initiates the smile. So, you will feel happy. When you simply smile at a person, they smile back. So, whether it is real or fake, smile is good for our body and the person we are smiling at."

Nethra Balasubramaniam, counselling psychologist, Fortis Malar Hospital, said, "When it comes to smiling, it will induces optimistic thinking. People who are happy and optimistic in life tend to be good problem-solvers and good in coping up with difficult times. They will have free flow of ideas. Laughter is the best medicine and smiling helps you feel better. Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your happiness and health."

Humour is one of the best stress release and relaxation therapies, she added. How does one get to smiling and laugh?

* Get in touch with others personally

* Watch cartoons and comedies

* Play game and fun board games with kids

* Read funny books

* Go out often and watch movies in the theatre

* Listen to radio shows and melodious songs

* Tell jokes and smile more