I was recently reading something about serotonin and levels of depression. It reminds me of the advice to dig your fingernails hard into the flesh at the base of the thumb in order to numb headaches etc. The theory being that the self induced pain causes the brain to react with a flood of endorphins which act as a natural painkiller for the original ache. Hmmm… distraction, perhaps?
Well, of course, there are those who will tell you that fixing a smile on your face will drive the blues away. When I’m feeling cynical I think they just dish out this advice because they don’t have the empathy, sympathy or general decency to give you a bit of their time to listen to the problem.
At other times I’ll get into pseudo-scientific mode and go looking for possible links and explanations. Well, maybe bodily chemicals can be induced in these simple ways. What I’d been reading that prompted this post was that deliberately smiling can make the body produce serotonin. That’s why it reminded me of the endorphin inducing theory.
So, we can make the world a better place by simply going around smiling more often. Well, that’s fine as far as it goes, I’m all for an effort to banish unmerited discontent. But that old saying, ‘Grin and bear it’ keeps coming to mind.
Also, I’m concerned about the chicken and egg effect of cause and effect. If a state of wellbeing is what produces the serotonin and makes us smile in the normal way of things, how is artificially producing the end result of a smile, going to get us back to the beginning state of wellbeing?
I really hope it will, but can’t help being a bit sceptical.
Will you help in the experiment by smiling through the blues?