“If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours”- Unknown
In those moments of rush when you are trying to get things done do you remember to smile?
Typically we tend to lose the enjoyment of the moment when we are stressed wanting things to happen a certain way. There’s a tendency to get totally caught up in the task.
Recently I was trying to meet an important deadline. There was little Zen and mindfulness in my approach to getting things done ASAP. My focus became narrow and I remember this growing sense of panic and overwhelm. But then something happened that stop me in my tracks. I came face to face with myself in a mirror and a voice inside me said: “You aren’t smiling!”
That unique moment brought me to a standstill. I looked at myself in the mirror and smiled and everything changed.
Why is smiling so important?
The Health Benefits of Smiling
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”– Thich Nhat Hanh
Research studies into the benefits of smiling have found strong links relating to good health, wellbeing and longevity. When we smile the body releases feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin, and dopamine. This produces a positive change in our mood, and our sense of happiness.
When we feel stressed or under pressure smiling not only offers a mood boost but also helps our bodies combat numerous health issues:
- Reduces blood pressure
- Increases endurance
- Reduces pain
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Strengthens the immune system
The Power of the Smile
“Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.”– Chinese Proverb
Every moment offers the potential for happiness. It’s not that we need to be ecstatic, full of pleasure, excited or even joyous every second of the day. It’s very simple. We just need to remember to smile.
Many see smiling simply as an instinctive response to events that bring us joy or laughter. However, smiling can also be a deliberate conscious powerful choice.
We are born with the human ability to smile, yet as we age, we smile less often. Research indicates that children smile an average of 400 times per day, compared to the average happy adult who smiles 40-50 times per day and the typical adult who smiles only 20 times per day.
That means the typical adult is smiling 95% less than when he/she was a child.
How can we re-learn to smile more often like we did as a child?
Making smiling habitual retrains your mind from negative to positive.
By default our human brains are naturally wired for negativity. It’s a built-in defence mechanism to protect us. Nevertheless, we can overcome this human tendency by training yourself to smile more often.
According to Shawn Achor, the author of The Happiness Advantage, by making smiling part of our everyday practice, we help our brains build happiness loops that boost more positive-thinking patterns. We cultivate a more positive attitude towards life events that can allow you to overcome this human tendency to default to negative thinking when things go wrong.
The habitual act of smiling helps the mind move to a more positive space and remain there longer the more you do it.
Smiling is contagious at creating a Ripple Effect
“The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” – Dale Carnegie
Have you ever noticed how often someone will reciprocate a smile after you share one?
How does it make you feel?
I often find when I give a warm and friendly smile, often others will smile back. I feel a moment of happiness, connection and acceptance. The smile seems to improve the impression signalling to others that I am friendly, trustworthy and not a threat.
Those small moments of human connection add quality to our day. When you smile, you are signalling that you are open and friendly.
Smile at the world and the world will smile back at you. You will brighten the days of those around and make a difference in their lives… simply by smiling!
What do you have to smile about in this moment?
“Smiling is the best way to face every problem, to crush every fear and to hide every pain.”– Unknown
You don’t need a smile on your face all day long. But we can smile more. Between the physical smiles, we can learn to have an internal smile.
Try an internal smile now!
Focus on having calm, unsmiling reflective face, and become present to the here and now. Now start to think of the miracle of this moment, and find a positive thought to smile about. Feel the smiling lighting you up inside.
Sometimes we take some everyday precious moments for granted. It’s important that we find the time to acknowledge these moments and smile inside.
Here are some ideas to reflect on that you may normally take for granted:
- You have someone in your life that cares about you.
- There is beauty all around you.
- You have someone you can help.
- You can move.
- You get to see the sun rise.
- You can appreciate the leaves of a tree, rain falling, wind blowing.
- You get to spend time with someone you love.
Did you find that internal smile?
Remember to always Smile
“Smile more. Smiling can make you and others happy.”-– Roy T. Bennett
When we find ourselves not paying attention we miss the opportunity to smile. You’ll forget to smile in those various moments, because your mind gets caught up in fears and anxieties about the past and the future.
In its place, remind yourself of what’s happening right now. See the beauty in the present moment and smile. Find the reason to smile externally and internally.
This will change your day. We will find happiness and contentment with every moment.
This all-around mood booster is one of the few available to you each day at no cost. So why not take advantage of your own power to create happiness.
I hope this post has inspired you to smile that little more often.
If you have any thoughts or ideas feel free to leave a comment below.