You probably know that smiling lifts your spirits by releasing feel-good hormones into your bloodstream. But did you know forcing a fake smile also has a similar effect?
I was told this by a migraine specialist when I sought treatment for debilitating migraines. He told me when I felt a headache coming on to make myself smile—even if that was the last thing I felt like doing. He explained that the very act of the muscles lifting into a smile triggered the brain to release endorphins and serotonin into the bloodstream which led to an easing of the headache.
|I'M EATING YOUR ROSES, SO WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING? (BANJO, MY DAUGHTER'S PONY)|
Ultimately my migraines were treated with medication but the smile therapy still helps. Consequently, I find myself appreciating anything that makes me smile spontaneously rather than forcing an inane grin in front of the mirror!
Smiling isn’t just good for preventing headaches, of course. Experts say smiling makes you feel more relaxed and boosts your immune system. Smiling helps social interaction too. Different cultures may bow, shake hands, kiss or rub noses, but a smile is a human signal of good intent that crosses all cultural barriers.
What makes you smile? The antics of my animals often bring a smile to my face--dog, cats, horses, even the chickens. Babies and children (even teenagers!) make me smile. Comedians like Robin Williams are guaranteed to make me laugh and a good episode of a television show like The Big Bang Theory, Community or Mike and Molly can make me ROFLOL (roll on floor, laughing out loud.)
Books too, can bring a smile to my face, with authors like Jennifer Crusie and British chicklit author Jennifer Colgan coming to mind for laugh-out-loud humor.
When I started to write, I tried angst and drama but my characters just wouldn’t let me take them that seriously. When I got feedback from editors praising my “comedic voice” I realized angst might not be my forte. Readers too, responded to my lighter tone of voice. One reader tells me that when she feels down she rereads my contemporary romance Love is a Four-Legged Word to lift her spirits. Even Something About Joe, which deals with some serious family issues, also makes readers laugh.
I’m with Jane Austen when she said: “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.”
What brings a smile to your face? Humor is so subjective, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction.www.kandyshepherd.com