• Diana Anderson


It always made me cringe when people would say “Fake it till you make it!”

The last thing I wanted to do when I was feeling terrible was smile.

After studying how happy hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins affect not only mood but the physiology of the body, I was fascinated.

One small example is that when we smile AND **feel gratitude** these hormones are released, which communicates to the central nervous system that all is well and safe. In doing so, this actually tells the body to direct more blood to the brain!

It might seem totally crazy but smiling and feeling gratitude can sometimes greatly impact how severe a headache gets, and in some cases, help to prevent a full-blown migraine attack.

Trust me, I know, this is not always easy to do. And telling someone to “smile” or “just feel happy” can have VERY adverse reactions. If it wasn’t for me learning the science behind this, using this technique consistently, and getting great results, I would have never believed it either! But it's science! Hormones have a major effect on the body all day, every day.

This might not sound like a big deal but during a headache or migraine, the autonomic nervous system goes into a state of fight or flight and this response actually directs blood and resources AWAY from the brain and out to the muscle to “fight or flee”.

As you can imagine having less blood sent to the brain makes a headache or migraine MUCH worse.

Smiling and feeling gratitude calms down the nervous system. Once it is calm, more blood flows to the brain which can help relieve head pain.

Unfortunately, a fake smile doesn’t work so well. The secret to releasing serotonin is FEELING gratitude and satisfaction. So… you can’t really ‘fake it till you make it’. Now, obviously this isn’t a cure all but it can really help! It also doesn’t work instantly because it takes time for the nervous system to calm down, but if you do this for 20-30 minutes it can really help!

Additionally, this is most effective if you smile/feel gratitude in conjunction with mineral/electrolyte hydration, deep (belly) breathing and gentle movements to promote the circulation of spinal fluid.