We all sometimes take the little things for granted. And there’s one simple remedy for many of life’s ills that we all carry around with us every day but probably rarely give a second thought to — our smiles.
Sure, we look for smiles to see whether someone is angry with us or enjoying our company, and we offer a friendly smile to a child or someone who could use a little reassurance. But how many of us ever consider the healing possibilities of that simple little facial expression?
Smiling enhances your mood.
It may seem contradictory to recommend putting a grin on your face when you’re down, but wearing a smile even when you not feeling happy can put you in a better mood. Of course, thinking of those things that inspire joy and happiness will put a smile on our faces and thus lead to a better disposition. But even the act of smiling itself can trigger a brighter frame of mind. Emotions are not only activated by thoughts but also by physical cues. The next time you find yourself in a sour mood, try lifting the edges of those lips and see if it doesn’t lift your spirits.
Smiling can reduce stress and lower your blood pressure.
An added benefit of the elevated mood our smiles bring us is its effect on our physical well-being. Sour moods can cause our bodies to tense up, tightening our muscles and restricting blood vessels. Not only is this a recipe for discomfort, but it can also noticeably increase our blood pressure. Taking a deep breath, thinking happy thoughts, and putting a smile on our faces will relax those tense muscles and allow the blood to flow more freely, improving our health in the short and long run.
The healing of a smile is contagious.
Not only does smiling make us feel better, but wearing a warm smile can brighten the mood of other people around us. Human beings have a natural tendency to imitate, or ape, others people around them, often subconsciously. One or two moody individuals will usually bring down the whole group. But the reverse is also true. Going into a social situation with a large smile on your face will trigger a reaction in the faces of others in the group, and before long, everyone is smiling and feeling happier. Smiling regularly within a group you frequent, such as work or school, can set into motion a chain reaction that improves the overall atmosphere for everyone.
Smiling even has its own day.
You may be wondering why, if smiling has so many amazing benefits, it has not received more recognition. Well, it has. Graphic designer Harvey Ball, famous for creating the iconic smiley face design, founded the World Smile Foundation in 1999 to promote “good cheer and good works”. In addition to backing several children’s charities, the foundation established World Smile Day on the first Friday of each October. The event’s motto is “do an act of kindness — help one person smile,” a worthy gem of advice to follow every day of the year.
In Pure Spirit
Do you believe in the healing power of smiles?