When stressed, we become tensed and uptight automatically. Our muscles get into a spasm without us even noticing or being aware of it. Do you ever experience the familiar ache in the neck and shoulders at the end of the day? This is a result of holding our muscles tight all day long. And when this happens everyday, it accumulates, and we notice chronic pain. Also the message that goes to brain from the tense muscles is that things are stressful and the brain continues to release stress hormones.
A point to note is that our muscles can be either tense or relaxed, not both at the same time, right?
When we stretch, exercise or laugh, we release the tension and our muscles relax. Then there is a different message that goes to our brain. Our muscles send message back to the brain – we are ok, relaxed, things are fine. This helps change the brain chemistry. Our parasympathetic system gets activated and relieves stress. So, you can consciously change your facial expression and allow your muscles to relax to change the state of your brain. Pretty cool!
Smiling intentionally, or watching a comedy or humor, can get you there. Have you heard of the laughing clubs that are springing all over the world? A group of people meet in a park, gather in a circle, and just keep laughing for a half hour. It is not only a great way to reduce your stress, but also a great exercise, making you breathe deeply and working a lot of the muscles. Some yoga studios have the laughing yoga classes too. Choose whatever can get you to laugh heartily and bring that smile on your face.
Take the control back! Instead of being a victim of your mood, take charge, and you choose your mood.