Now Christmas festivities are well and truly over, it is easy to feel lethargic and let the dull dark days get you down. This year, why not try to focus on the happier side of life and make it your aim to smile more? Research shows that smiling releases neuropeptides in the brain that help transmit messages to the rest of the body. These feel-good neurotransmitters (dopamine, endorphins and serotonin) are triggered when you smile which lower heart rate, blood pressure and relax the body.
When you smile, people react in a more positive way, seeing you as more relaxed, reliable and sincere. Studies show that seeing a smiling face triggers your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in the brain that processes sensory rewards, resulting in that when you see someone smiling at you, you feel happier and more content. If you smile at someone, they are more likely to return the favour and you will both feel better for the experience.
Throw off the shackles of winter depression and embrace hobbies or pastimes that make you smile. Why not view a comedy film or play? Older people will remember shows involving Morecombe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em etc – all easily available these days through DVD stores.
Seniors will also find plenty to laugh at by listening and singing along to a comedy CD such as Kings of Comedy, three hours of funny sketches and songs that include favourites such as ‘Right Said Fred’, ‘My Brother’ ‘My Boomerang Won’t Come Back’ etc.
So exercise your facial muscles and take some time out to find the happier side of life through the winter months and spread the feeling to everyone around you too!