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By Marina Kondo

As a university student, along with keeping up with homework and acing exams, one of the most difficult tasks is coping with stress. Especially during midterm exam and final exam weeks, tensions run high as students give up leisure time to cram in weeks worth of knowledge. Between these hours and hours of studying, there’s no time to go drinking at izakayas or singing at karaokes to relive stress. Although you may find no particular reason to, just slapping a smile on your face can do the simple trick of distressing your body and improving your mood. Here’s why.

Image by Enokson (Flickr).

Image by Enokson (Flickr).

According to the research in Psychology Today, smiling activates the release of dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, all neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel happy. This relaxes your body and causes lower heart rate and blood pressure. The endorphins act as a natural pain reliever, and the serotonin serves as an anti-depressant mood lifter – more benefits! Smiling also increases productivity, boosts the immune system, and causes longevity.

Not only does smiling create happiness inside your body, but it also makes you look more attractive. Studies, again in Psychology Today, have shown that those around you view your smiling face more attractive, relaxed, reliable, and sincere. In addition, smiling is contagious! Seeing a smile triggers an unconscious automatic response in your brain that causes you to smile back, which means that you could easily spread all these benefits to those around you!

The best part of it all is that even in times when you can’t find yourself a particular reason to smile, even a fake smile can bring about all these positive effects! So especially when you’re feeling under the weather, bombarded with schoolwork, lift up the corners of your mouth and let the magic happen.

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