Neuroscience of Smiling Face in Meditation




Why smiling face is so important during meditation? Soft smiling brings instantaneous joy. It relaxes the mind and the body.  It is not necessary to smile all the time during meditation. However, at the beginning of a meditation session smiling is very important. Smiling is a positive lens through which you can see the world positively.  In this article the basic neuroscience of smiling, during meditation is explained.

“Meditation is the way to bring more smile, joy and positive energy into the world.” – Amit Ray

We smile to express our joy and satisfaction. Smiling is one of the most basic, biologically-uniform expressions of all humans. When you smile, you are become more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. A smiling face actually appear to be more competent and friendly to the world. Often smiling comes naturally in certain states of the mind. 

Smiling Face During MeditationChildren smiles as many as four hundred times per day. Smiling stimulates our brain reward mechanism in a way that even chocolate cannot match. Smiling can help reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine, increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin and reduce overall blood pressure. 

The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well.  This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Smiling can transform you and the world around you.  Smile spreads from our face, through our respiratory system, and eventually through our entire bodies. 

Smiling decreases stress hormones and  triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. It increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.  Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. Smiling increases the amount of T cells, which are the body’s natural defense against viruses.  It also increases memory and cognitive functioning.

 

References:

When you smile, the world smiles at you: ERP evidence for self-expression effects on face processing” by Alejandra Sel, Beatriz Calvo-Merino, Simone Tuettenberg and Bettina Forster in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Published,  June 2015 

R.D. (2000). Neural correlates of conscious emotional experience. In R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitiveneuroscience of emotion (pp. 345–370). New York: Oxford University Press.

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