Laughter is best medicine

April 19, 2018

The best way to get through the tough times is to smile.

Shepparton Christian College student Jessica Fenby.

Shepparton Christian College

The News has partnered with Greater Shepparton secondary school students this year to bring you an insight into their school year.

While they will document their educational journey, the students will also talk about their interests and hobbies and their views on topics such as current affairs, social issues, politics and religion.

We thank all schools, teachers and students for their enthusiasm to get involved in the project and hope you enjoy their contributions throughout term 2.

By Jessica Fenby, Shepparton Christian College

I’ve only been alive for 17 and a bit years, so I obviously don’t have much life experience, but from the things I have experienced, I’ve realised that everyone goes through a hard time.

There’s not one person who hasn’t gone through something that was difficult and challenged them.

I think the best way to get through it is to smile.

I’ve talked to many people about this and they question this method and ask me questions like, ‘‘Isn’t that just being fake?’’ and I guess to a certain degree it is, but after a while, it becomes real.

My teacher and I were talking, and she told me the way you act would influence how you felt, so if I always acted easily irritated, then I would be.

Since I act happy all the time, I actually feel happier than someone else who might be going through the same things as I am would feel.

I think of it like this: just randomly start fake laughing with someone, or even by yourself, and I think you’ll find that you’ll start to really laugh pretty quickly.

In fact, there has been much research done into smiling and whether even fake smiling can improve your health — and the conclusion is, IT CAN!

Smiling actually helps strengthen our immune system, control our blood pressure, increase our self-control and resilience against stress, bring balance and a sense of wellbeing and a positive outlook.

Smiling also releases two hormones — endorphins and serotonin.

As most people know, endorphins are painkillers and serotonin is a natural anti-depressant.

While doing this research, I found that some smiles are better at healing our bodies than others.

So what is the most effective smile? It’s called the Duchenne smile, named after Guillaume Duchenne, who was a 19th century physician from France.

He found that when you use the muscles that make your eyes squint and crinkle at the corners, called orbicularis oculi and the muscle that pulls the corner of your mouth up, known as the zygomatic major, then you will hardly be able to fake your happiness.

The Berkeley researchers found that 95 per cent of people who use the Duchenne smile experience authentic happiness, which leaves only five per cent that are able to fake their happiness through this smile.

Therefore, the best way to get through those hard times is to use the Duchenne smile :)

Jessica Fenby is in Year 12 at Shepparton Christian College.

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