The simple act of smiling has profound consequences. Scientists say a smile causes your brain to release neuropeptides that can help you handle stress. Your smile floods your body with dopamine, endorphin, and serotonin, chemicals shown to lower your blood pressure, decrease your heart rate, and even ease your pain. Studies show when we smile, others perceive us as looking younger, thinner, and more intelligent. Yep, that’s right, smiling makes people believe you are smart.
Wearing a face covering, well, it masks our smiles. Or does it? I find I am watching people’s eyes more than ever before, searching for some connections. I have discovered an honest-to-goodness, 100% genuine smile is transmitted for the eye to behold. There is a wrinkle, a crinkle, a glorious twinkle, and zap – it supercharges my heart, lifts my spirits, and suddenly I am smiling too. I want the other person to imagine the loony grin hidden behind my mask, and I boost my responses with sign language. Enthusiastic thumbs-up, energetic hand waves, and grateful air hugs augment my repertoire. I have even added happy dance steps to accompany my muffled laughter.
Your friends smile back when they see your smile. Sometimes I think they are only laughing at my antics. But they receive those same mood-boosting chemicals, predisposing them to smile or maybe dance for the next person they meet. Your beaming face and body language can start a feel-good epidemic.
Whose day will you brighten?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer