Smile for a Healthy Heart
Smiling for a Healthy Heart
The heart is one of the most vital organs of the body. The size of your heart is roughly equal to the size of your fist – with the thumb closed in. Now just imagine; such a tiny little pump sees to it that every drop of blood – and there are countless in 5 liters of blood – circulates through the body almost twice a day, everyday. That is indeed a lot of work, and you can imagine the amount of pressure on the heart and even the blood vessels of the body. Now just think about the amount of things, and the number of times, and the countless moments in life that we spend being upset about something – does it still seem worth it?
I said in one of my previous articles that it is only a healthy body that can host a happy mind. Today I will go on to say – converse is also true. If you are happy, you are going to feel great, and your body is going to respond to all that positive energy within itself. If you stay happy, you will feel positive about your life, more confident to tackle all of life’s challenges, and grab the bull by its horns. And one of the best ways to stay happy is to keep smiling. More smiles correspond to less frowns, which mean less tension and stress. Ultimately less pressure on the mind and body pave the way to a healthy body and a healthy heart.
Did you know that laughing actually improves your blood circulation? Take a look at yourself the next time you laugh over something – the extremities of your face – particularly your nose tip and your ears – will have probably gone red and hot! It has been proved now that laughter causes the endothelium of blood vessels to dilate. Laughing also causes the body to release nitrous oxide, or the laughing gas as it is commonly called. And what’s more – seeing someone laugh makes you smile, then grin ear to ear, and finally laugh yourself! And that is what forms the basis of Dr. Madan Kataria’s brainchild, Hasyayoga – or Laughter Yoga. The source of laughter in these groups, where laughter is an exercise rather than just an expression, is not humor. But anyone passing by one of the Hasyayoga groups would burst out laughing looking at them anyway. Increased laughter means better blood circulation, which in turn ensures the health of your body, and particularly that of your heart.
Smile and Human Psychology
A common saying in any profession related to hospitality is ‘Serve with a Smile’. Nobody likes to be welcomed by a grumpy, sullen, grouchy receptionist, be it at the doctor’s or at a five-star hotel. Have you ever noticed that most wall-clocks on display in stores show the time ten minutes past ten? If yes, have you ever wondered why? It is because the way the hands of a clock are positioned at that time make it look like a smile. Watching someone smile is contagious, and you almost involuntarily tend to smile back at the person you saw smiling. In fact, so powerful is the emotion and emotional connect, that even reading the word ‘smile’ in this article must have made you smile at some point – and if not, then me mentioning it right now must definitely have! (See, there you go!) In part this could be to do with mirror neurons found in the body. Mirror neurons are those that send out the same signals when the body is subjected to a stimulus, and even when that organism sees another organism being subjected to the same stimulus. So when we say ‘I can feel your pain’, we really can feel someone’s pain. And that is probably why when you see someone yawn, you yawn too, and while you see someone smile or laugh, you smile or laugh too. Laughter indeed is contagious.