Did you know that smiling releases endorphins? It's true. Actively smiling more can be a simple way to get your body to help you heal from pain.
And, I love that! You see, day in and out, I work with clients who are desperate to get out of chronic musculoskeletal and joint pain.
Often when I greet them at the door I'm met with understandable frowns and scowls on their faces (even if they are not unhappy). Who can blame them? Their body is hurting, and every muscle is reacting. Chronic pain is vicious and affects every facet of life (mind, body and spirit).
Chronic pain can become a full time job for people because it's all consuming just to get your activities of daily living done. Not only does pain affect your body, but it also impacts how you carry yourself in public and the way people perceive and react to you. If you feel lousy, it's pretty hard to keep a smile on your face and stay positive.
Think about it.
How do you react towards a person who has the mouth pursed shut, shoulders rounded, head forward and eyes on the ground? Chances are they have poor posture.
Now what about your perception of a person who has great posture. Their head is up, eyes forward and a smile on the face?
We all hate to admit that we judge, but it's true. Your physical posture and sense of wellness affect how you react to the world, but more importantly, how the world reacts to you.
My job coaching clients as a Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist is to teach my clients that YOU, the whole you are MORE than just a body. You're not just pain or a collection of pieces and parts. Healing comes from a WHOLE person perspective. That means tackling it from a bio-psycho-social (body, mind, spirit) perspective.
Why? It's a holistic approach to helping the body heal.
Instead of focusing solely on your symptom (your pain) it helps to identify, address and correct the ROOT CAUSE of your problem, in which your day to day posture and function is now impacted by your thoughts, feelings, and interactions with others.
Now of course, I'm not a therapist by any means. But it's been my experience that by treating the body as a unit, and tackling the ROOT cause of the pain problem, we decrease pain, improve posture and mobility which ultimately enhances positive emotions. In the process of how to balance your body, we can talk about life situations that trigger pain, stressors that you are aware of, etc. When you feel empowered, and have an action plan that you're confident of to implement, it's amazing how a sense of control changes things. Let's face it, when you feel better inside your body you're much more inclined to put a smile on your face.
Smiling Is A Natural Pain KillerSmiling is well known to release endorphins and serotonin into the which aid in overall health and wellness. I also believe that positive facial expressions and smiling in particular is a great way to help your body to function better, improve your social perception and help you stand out in a crowd.
Smiling is widely documented to improve heart health, increases attractiveness, and decreases stress levels.
Recently, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City compared pleasurable emotions and heart disease risk in about 1,800 adults.
The result? The more positive the emotions expresses, the lower the risk for heart disease! Simply focusing on pleasurable experience, causes you to smile more. And by smiling more you can improve the overall health of your heart. Here's the problem for those who are in physical pain. It's difficult to focus on pleasurable emotions when you hurt.
The beauty of corrective exercise to align your posture and function is that we eliminate pain by addressing the condition (your posture) and not your symptom (your pain). When you eliminate the dysfunctions and compensations in your body through the application of corrective exercise, you begin to feel feel better. Pain is reduced and you are free to once again focus on the pleasurable emotions of loving and living your life to the fullest.
So chronic pain or not, just adding a smile to your day is an easy way to improve your health.
10 Benefits of Smiling1. Make us more attractive (enhances other people's perception of you)
2. Improves mood and affects the mood of others
3. Changes the atmosphere in a room
4. Reduces stress
5. Boosts our immune system
6. Lowers blood pressure
7. Releases endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin
8. Lifts our face and helps reduce wrinkles
9. Requires less work for the facial muscles it's a universal sign of happiness 10. And the best benefit of all - it's good for your heart!
Here at Pain Free Posture MN, I couldn't agree more.
"Every time you smile at someone,
it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."
~ Mother Theresa
Not one to smile frequently? That's okay. I'm a huge believer that we all have the capacity to change. Smiling is a product of reasons, responses and routines. Try these simple tasks to get you started.
4 Simple Ways To Smile More
1. Do your corrective exercises each day and get your body into balance - when you feel good your more likely to smile more.
2. Make a gratitude or appreciation list - what are you thankful for?
3. Make a list of those who have positively impacted your life. Being mindful of those who have changed your life for the better is sure to get you smiling.
4. Write down your favorite memories. Favorite memories always make us smile. We can't help it!
Now go get your corrective exercises done, and start smiling. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it!
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Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Head Photo Credit: Melissa Thome Photography
Author: Deb Preachuk is a Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.
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Posted on Sun, June 19, 2011
by Deb Preachuk filed under