Get a Mini Endorphin Rush
The benefits of smiling start in your brain, which releases neurotransmitters like endorphins when you’re grinning. Those endorphins provide a bit of pain relief. Serotonin, which has antidepressant effects, can also be produced from a smile. Those small little jolts can provide a bit of relief when you’re feeling down and help put you in a better mood.
Boost Your Immune System
Happiness has been shown to strengthen the body’s immune system, while the body’s resistance to viral and bacterial threats actually decreases as a result of depression. So when you smile, you’re actually helping to build up that immune response so you can stay healthy and fight off illnesses.
Smiling is a great way to help take your stress down a notch. In fact, a study at the University of Kansas found that smiling helped to reduce the body’s response to stress. Compared to those who didn’t smile, the participants in the study who were instructed to smile while undergoing stressful tasks actually exhibited lower heart rate levels. That knowledge can be especially useful for people with ADHD, who often find that their symptoms are triggered by stress.
Create More Happiness
A smile also has social benefits by helping us to connect with others and create warm, friendly relationships. Smiling is often contagious, and since the reward center of the brain is activated when we see other people smile, spreading smiles around may help foster more happiness in your life.
Trick Your Brain
Speaking of your brain, it’s interesting to note that you can see the benefits of smiling even when you’re faking it. When recognizing the muscle activity involved in smiling, the brain registers it as authentic — even when it’s not. That means just the physical act of smiling can help you achieve the benefits noted above.
When Smiling Doesn’t Cut It
It’s fun to think about the mental health benefits of smiling. When you’re feeling a little down, even a forced smile could give you a bit of a lift that helps to improve your mood.
However, it’s important to note that smiling isn’t a magic cure for mental health challenges. If you’re really struggling, a smile may not make much of a difference to your overall mental state. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help from a professional if you’re experiencing excess stress or anxiety or dealing with depression.
With ADHD, you might find that smiling is a helpful mood booster when you’re having a rough day. But if you need help with managing your systems on a larger scale, Done can help. We offer ADHD screenings, medication prescriptions, and 24/7 support from licensed clinicians. We’re here to help you get on the right track to better mental health, all from the convenience of home.