Make Your Heart Happy and Your Skin Will Glow

What’s the connection between happiness and beautiful skin?

It’s no secret that when you’re in love, or elated, or walking on Cloud 9, you look great. You feel good and you look good. You think so, and other people think so, too. Your eyes sparkle and your skin literally glows.

That’s because our emotions really do influence our skin.  As I explained in the post, You have NICE skin, your skin is not only your body’s largest organ, it is also your body’s largest sensory organ. There is an elaborate web of interconnections, called the neuro-immuno-cutaneous-endocrine (NICE) system, which links nervous system, immune system, cutaneous (skin), and endocrine functions, all of which are important to physical, emotional, and mental health.

Simply put, our skin reflects our emotional state. That’s why you might blush from embarrassment, turn red with anger, go white with fear, or get chills from the national anthem. Since our skin and our emotions are so closely connected, it’s not surprising that our skin is profoundly affected by stress. But our skin is also profoundly affected by positive emotions, such as love, excitement, and happiness.

This is where the hormone dopamine comes in. In fact, if I had to pick a single reason for the connection between happiness and beautiful skin, dopamine would be it. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that:

  • Ensures communication between neurons
  • Affects brain processes that control emotional response
  • Plays an important role in feelings of desire and pleasure
  • Increases microcirculation to the skin
  • Improves recovery of the skin barrier (the skin’s protective function)
  • Produces an immediate exhilarating effect.

In short, dopamine is the biochemical pathway to an improved complexion and increased wellbeing. What can you do to increase your personal supply of dopamine?

Make yourself happy!


Although bad days are inevitable, we often focus too much on what goes wrong. That can become a habit to the point that, no matter how many things we’ve got going for us, we let the minor setbacks—we’re stuck in traffic; we’re late for a meeting; our 14-year-old slammed the door on her way to school—throw us off. That’s why I frequently remind myself and my patients of the following Insights:

“Why have a bad day, when you can have a good day?”


“Life can be good, bad, or indifferent. Focus on the good.”

Consistently focusing on the joy and good things in your life will lift your spirits. Feeling happy will stimulate the release of dopamine, and give you a more youthful, glowing appearance—naturally!

I also recommend that we:

“Smile often; frown infrequently.”

Research has found that genuine smiles contribute to healthy, glowing skin by releasing the body’s feel-good hormones. And you don’t have to wait for something random to make you smile. You can help yourself to a smile by thinking of something or someone who makes you happy: your toddler (or your 14-year-old when she was a toddler), your crazy cat, your sweet partner, the last time someone surprised you with a treat. Even the recollection of something that made you smile stimulates your brain to release the feel-good hormones. You feel better—and you look better too!

Spend more time face-to-face with loved ones.

Don’t let your cell phone come between you and the people you love. Make time to enjoy meals, walks, sports events, and other activities with the people you care about—and who care about you. Strong social connections protect your heart, your mind, your immune system, and your skin—by making you happy! So prioritize time spent with the people who love and appreciate you for being YOU! (And if you can’t spend time together in person, I have found that nothing lifts my spirits so much as a Facetime with my two-year-old grandson!)

Manage your stress.

Occasional stress is normal; however Cultural Stress—the constant stress of modern living—is a new development, particularly in evolutionary terms. Quite simply, our bodies have not had time to adapt to the all-pervasive, ever-increasing stress of modern lifestyles. Therefore, it’s up to US to manage it. That means silencing our phones, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, eating right, and taking up some kind of stress management practice, whether it be morning affirmations, journaling, meditation, yoga, inspirational reading, or any other practice that enables you to slow your breathing and heart rate and restore your inner sense of calm. And don’t forget the healing power of physical self-care, including massage, facials, or even a soothing, candlelit bubble bath.

Stay in touch with your passion!

Last but not least, honor yourself by spending time each week—if not each day—doing what inspires YOU! It might be swing dancing or basketball, knitting or rock collecting. Whatever it is, make it a priority. Your health, happiness, and appearance depend on it!

That’s #Modern Wellness.

(For daily inspirations designed to increase your happiness, download my Inspirations app from the Apple Store. It’s free!)

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider, who should also be consulted with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.


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