I don’t where I picked up the habit but for years, whenever I went to the restroom, I would look in the mirror when I washed my hands and give a quick smile to myself. Sounds odd I know, but it physically made me feel better. As I progressed with my Parkinson’s I noticed I did it less and less and that I also smiled and laughed overall much less than I did in the past. It’s a common symptom of PD called facial masking or hypomimia.
So I took to the Google and read a few articles that said smiling and laughing do have a physical effect on us. They can release dopamine (our long lost friend) which contributes to happiness and serotonin which contributes to the feeling of calm. Even forcing or faking a smile can trick our brains into feeling better.
So I put my forced smiling and laughing plan to work. When I wake up in the morning and before I get out of bed, I smile and think “good morning”. When I’m drinking my morning coffee I look at a couple of reddit feeds like contagious laughter or made me smile, that show funny video clips and watch it until I laugh which doesn’t take long and I swear it makes my day start in a happier mood. I’m also practicing my smile in the restroom again and take the opportunity to smile at someone during the day if I’m out and about.
I really do notice a difference. Think about it. Do you smile and laugh every day?