The AM Smile Mindset - Cultivating Happiness From Within

Smile AM

 Smiling can send an immediate and positive message to your brain and can change how others perceive you, acting as one of the most powerful mood enhancers and helping you feel healthier and stronger before cold and flu season.

Happiness starts within you, so learning to sustain it can be a journey. If you're having difficulty, try adopting some healthy habits to bring more joy into your life.

The Power of the AM Smile Mindset

An AM Smile is an effective natural mood booster that relieves stress, lowers blood pressure and releases endorphins. Smiling also has the power to inspire others and make us feel good, appearing more approachable and confident. According to studies conducted by psychologists Ernest Abel and Michael Kruger, smiling is contagious: when one sees someone smiling their brain interprets it as an expression of happiness and naturally widens their mouth in imitation.

Smiling more often is seen as a warm, friendly, and trustworthy gesture, making you seem more approachable while helping reduce tension and anxiety by lowering cortisol levels in the body. Research has also shown that positivity strengthens immunity while depression weakens it.

However, it's important to keep in mind that not all smiles are authentic. Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen developed in the 1970s a Facial Action Coding System (FACS) chart to distinguish between genuine expressions of happiness (Duchenne smile) and other types of smiles such as facial expressions of insincerity or involuntary grin. New research conducted by Dr. Harry Witchel indicates that smiling may not always reflect feelings of happiness but may instead indicate engagement between people.

Ron Gutman presents numerous studies exploring the impact of smiling in his book, The Hidden Power of Smiling. His findings are fascinating and eye-opening - for instance when studying yearbook photographs of athletes from the 1950s with smiles accurately predicted how long they would live; those not smiling at the time of photo died on average 72 years later while those who did smile typically lived 80 years on average; though correlation doesn't prove causation this study provides insightful findings that are positive and encouraging.

Cultivating Inner Joy

Joy is at the core of genuine happiness. Joy is a quality that runs deep through your being and can be fostered with mindfulness practices. Joy helps us navigate life's obstacles with grace while giving us the energy to achieve our goals and enjoy life's simple pleasures, from enjoying coffee with loved ones or watching a baby discover delight in a butterfly.

Joy is different from happiness in that it comes from within rather than external sources, like receiving good grades on exams or spending time with friends; thus making its cultivation more challenging. But here are a few effective strategies to increase joy:

Start by practicing self-care. Establishing a routine that makes you happy - walking in nature, reciting affirmations or laughing with others- fosters joy. Engaging in activities that bring lighthearted fun into your daily routine like watching comedic TV shows or films can also help build joy more quickly. Plus, by surrounding yourself with people who make you laugh while encouraging you to be your true authentic self, joy may become easier for you to find.

Retraining your brain to focus on what's good in your life can be challenging; studies have revealed that we tend to overlook or overlook positive information when taking in information; a process known as negativity bias. With practice, however, you can learn to prioritize those things in life that bring joy - this will alter your perspective and alter your attitude toward them. Smiling when you don't necessarily feel like it can be an effective way to start feeling better! A recent study discovered that mimicking someone else's smile actually increases happiness! This may be because your facial muscles respond when seeing someone smiling; when this happens, the part of your brain that deals with emotion (cingulate cortex) gets activated when someone smiles.

Key to Lasting Happiness: Smiling Mindset

There are various methods for cultivating happiness and joy, from smiling and laughing to yoga or meditation. While these activities may help, it's essential that they be genuine: fake smiles or superficial cheeriness will do more harm than good; research shows that negative comments made without sincerity actually reduce well-being rather than enhance it.

Children laugh and smile around 400 times per day on average; adults only manage around 20. Smiling triggers the release of feel-good messengers such as dopamine and serotonin which help lower heart rates and blood pressure levels naturally.

Smiling sends out signals to others that you are open and interested in forming relationships, leading them towards feelings of affiliation, trustworthiness and compassion - as Mother Theresa once noted: 'Peace begins with a smile.

Nurturing Happiness Within

Genes, your income and physical health all play a part in making you happy; but one area where you have complete control is in how you think and feel about all the good things in your life and appreciate their significance. With mindfulness practices like practicing focusing on strengths and achievements while challenging negative thoughts as well as welcoming authenticity - you can harness skills that foster inner happiness that contribute to greater wellbeing.

Reaping the fruits of your labor and being thankful is important, but so is surrounding yourself with people who help bring out your best qualities - that is why it's crucial to seek out healthy relationships. Studies have proven that being social is key to happiness and well-being.

Studies have also demonstrated the positive benefits of smiling and laughing more often to improve both mood and energy levels. Researchers have discovered that on average children smile and laugh 400 times per day on average; adults on the other hand manage only 20 or so smiles in 24 hours.

Increase your happiness by simply smiling at yourself in the mirror. Studies have revealed that simply smiling can cause your eyes to light up and your facial muscles to contract, creating an attractive look and making you appear more approachable and attractive.

Smiling has long been recognized as an effective means of self-regulatory when in a state of negativity, helping us navigate even some of the toughest circumstances. Barbara Fredrickson and Robert Levenson studied the facial expressions of 72 participants while watching an emotionally wrenching scene from Steel Magnolias; those who smiled more through the movie experienced greater recovery of baseline cardiovascular levels compared to those who didn't smile during viewing.

So make it a habit to look for the positive in every situation by developing the habit of smiling more frequently at yourself and others. Do this when getting out of bed in the morning or while watching an entertaining TV program; the more often you do this, the easier it will become over time.

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