Oakville Zen Meditation

#343 A Winning mind Dec.13th 20

Wanting to be happier

Wanting to be happier is a universal daily expectation.

The scientific study of happiness called positive psychology has mushroomed over the last two decades. Major research institutions have taken on provoking search into the joy of joy, with surprising results. Here are few:

Researchers from UK used MRI, heart-rate monitors and blood levels of several hormones and neuropeotides as biomarkers to analyze what they called "mood-boosting triggers". Using different stimulus on 600 adult participants, they were assessing the degree of happiness or pleasure generated. Among all possible triggers, one came above all the time:

What was this magic stimulus?

A smile.

Maybe this why smiling is an ongoing trait of all of my Zen teachers.

Smiling, involving 43 muscles has truly remarkable biological-related positive emotional effects.

It actually makes you feel good for a short duration even if you're not feeling good in the moment.

A 2009 fMRI study in Munich demonstrated conclusively that the brain's happiness circuitry is activated when you smile (regardless of your current mood). If you're down, smiling actually prompts your brain to produce feel-good hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin for a short period of time.

Smiling is also a predictor of longevity.

In a 2010 out of Wayne State University, researchers looked at Major League baseball players.

They found that the frequency, duration of a player's smile, and frequency intensity of laughing actually increase lifespan, all things being considered statistically.

A 30-year longitudinal study out of UC Berkeley examined the smiles of students with spooky results. Students' smiling attitude  turned out to be accurate predictors of:

1)  High their standardized psychometric tests of well-being.

2)  How inspiring they are to others.

3)  How fulfilling their sentimental life will be.

Research also demonstrates that when we smile, we look better to others and make them more relaxed. Not only are we perceived as more likable and courteous, but those who benefit from our sunny face actually see us as more competent.

Finally these weird statistics.:

     Young children, especially below 5 crack a smile around 400/day.

     Around 30% of us smile over 20 times a day.

     Under 14% of adults smile fewer than 5 times a day.

Smiling consciously or even laughing on a regular basis and without a specific reason is a difficult skill to learn and practice.

Our society, especially in our working environment, is expecting us to look serious and in deep thoughts.

However, smiling will make us feeling good, making us looking good, and will get us to better. interpersonal skills and relationships.

Smiling once a while will not fix our mood 24/7 but it is better than the doom and gloom of a frozen face.

Thank you.