#6 Smile

Yep, it's true: smiling reduces pain!

The buddhists have apparently know this for a very long time: when you smile, your brain releases chemicals that make you feel calm and happy.

Aha, you thought it was the other way around, that when your are happy, you smile? Well so did I. Apparently this is one of the things that falls into the "tricking your brain" category.

But when you are in pain and your life sucks you may not feel like smiling, it actually might feel like the most difficult thing to do.

Yesterday I was at the airport in Frankfurt, flying back to Norway from Christmas holiday with my sister in Austin. Sitting in an airplane seat for 9 hours had really got my back and neck aching, and the neck pain was quickly approaching the level where I have problems functioning and can't see straight. I was too tired to get up and do much about it, my otc painkillers hadn´t worked and I didn't have anything else with me. I remembered this tip, and vainly tried fake-smiling for a while but really couldn´t get very into it.

Then when I was going through security, this friendly man was searching my bag for security hazards, and he came across the bottle of "Texas Roadkill Barbecue Sauce" I'd got for my father in Houston. The security officer (who looked sort of like Santa Claus) wiggled his finger and tried to look very stern; "Now this is an explosive, young lady, I can't let you bring this on the plane" and then I started laughing for real. He let me off (thankfully he didn't open the other bag, that had the slightly naughtier present for my boyfriend in it), the roadkill sauce was history, but I just thought it was all so funny I couldn't stop grinning.

And what do you know? A little while later the pain was gone.
Thank you Frankfurt Airport Security!

That experience sure helped me understand this theory, and now I've looked it up again and found lots of information about how smiling (even fake smiling!) releases endorphins, natural pain killers and seretonin, which helps you relax, it also lowers blood pressure, boosts your immune system and makes you look younger.

So Why wait?

Can´t even imagine smiling? Here's How And here is some inspiration :)


  1. It's just so weird, smiling when you're sad almost feels sinful. It's like using drugs, but feels even weirder because you're forcing your body to act counterintuitively. It feels wrong. (Lots of feelings going on here.) I'm not saying it is, and there are obviously more ways to look at it, but it's not entirely unproblematic to me.

    ANYWAY, what I was actually wondering about: did the sauce really qualify as an explosive? That's insane.

  2. Yes, it REALLY feels wrong to smile when you're unhappy, maybe that's why it works? It sure makes things happen in your brain and body...

    About security? I thought the guy was just joking about the barbecue sauce, but apparently he was dead serious...yikes... what is the world coming to?