In the hardest moments, we have a simple, powerful, stress reducing tool for ourselves - a smile. Your smile has a powerful impact on your nervous system, your brains, your stress responders and your hearts. When you smile, your body releases three hormones that make you feel good - dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These hormones tell your body you are happy and in response, the body feels happier, pulls the break on the fight or flight response, and lowers your heart beat. This happens even when you fake a smile as the brain doesn't know the difference between a real or a fake smile when it comes to releasing hormones. In “Smile: The Astonishing Powers of a Simple Act” Ron Gutman said, “British researchers found that one smile can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 bars of chocolate.” In this mindfulness/meditative exercise, we use our smile to reset our systems, introduce a little joy, and shift the hormone pendulum towards the healthy, relaxed, and resilient side of the scale. I know many of you don't feel like smiling with all that is in front or behind you and I encourage you to gift yourself these less than 5 minutes of self-care. xo, sarah
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