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Conniptions

The power of a smile

The power of a smile

by Carolyn Moynihan | December 01, 2017

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When I was at primary school many moons ago there was an institution called The Fun Doctor. A man with a battered suitcase full of tricks would come to the school once, maybe twice a year, and entertain us with jokes and magical stuff. On the whole, I think we were quite amused as there were no smartphones or television then to turn us into bored little sophisticates.

The reason for mentioning this is that even back in the Dark Ages people recognised that laughter is good for your health – hence, Fun Doctor. Today, there’s a whole branch of psychology dedicated to happiness, and no end of life coaches telling us how to be happy for the good of our health.

This very day, while I was staring indifferently at my laptop screen, someone sent me a heads-up about an article on how much just smiling can do for our psyches and bodies as well. But the main point is this: you don’t have to wait to feel happy to get the benefit of a smile; you can be tense and worried and smile anyway  -- and presto! Your brain fires up, the dopamine and serotonin start flowing, your stress goes down and your heart rate lowers, and your mood lifts. And not only you, those whom you smile at feel better too.

Our articles today were not exactly designed with smiles in mind, but they are not lacking in wit and encouragement, starting with Zac Alstin’s reflections on providence and freedom. So smile – and take the plunge!

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