Did you know that when you smile you release dopamine?
I thought about this the other day when I was smiling at this little lady in Walmart trying to reach something on the top shelf and I approached her to help her.
I helped her decide on what hand soap she wanted. While reaching to the highest shelf, I shared with her how my household refers to my arms in a lovingly mocking way as monkey arms because they are so long (when I drove a van I could literally hand something back all the way to the back row of children, not joking). She looked at me kinda confused and said, “Well, I don’t have monkey arms!” And thanked me for helping her.
I had a broad smile under my mask and said, “Well, if you need my arms again!” I enjoyed her so much. That brief, silly moment of human connection was so sweet to me. Her little husband waiting for her looking dashing (both were dressed in their Sunday bests).
Human connection is so different now. My little elder friend had gloves on and a mask, just as I did. My smile was visible to her and I wondered if she knew the joy she brought me by my helping her reach the soap on the tippity top shelf and her mere presence for a fleeting second?
Dopamine flooded my brain and my smile broadened. Buddy the Elf had it right when he said “I like smiling, smiling’s my favorite”. Smiling happens when we’re happy or in joy but it’s a two-way street you know?
The next time you’re feeling funky and can’t reach the top shelf, try smiling at yourself. Not a fake-it-until-you-make-it kind of smile but a feet grounded on the floor, breathing in through your nose out through your mouth smile. Release your dopamine and engage yourself in joy. When you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, SMILE at yourself and see what happens!
Let’s steal away our moments of human connection where we can!
- There’s so much pleasure in my life now
- With every air that I exhale, I release tension
- I am enough
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