In case you are wondering ‘What is there to smile about?’, ‘Why smile when I am feeling pain or numbness inside?’ or ‘Why deceive everyone with my false smile?’, I hope I can encourage you to review your attitude.
Smiling is good for you! Here is why:
1. A smile shows that you are available to connect.
‘Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles’ ~ George Eliot.
From my own experience, depression does not earn us any friends. It is easy to become ‘invisible’. How can people see us as approachable, when the looks on our faces say otherwise?
‘A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home’ ~ Author Unknown.
2. A smile makes you look good.
‘I’ve never seen a smiling face that was not beautiful’ ~ Author Unknown.
Smiles are attractive. No matter how old we are, how much we weigh or what kind of clothes we wear, smiles make us look good. Wear a smile, and people start noticing you, smile back at you and treat you differently.
3. A smile reveals your kind heart.
‘Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing’ ~ Mother Teresa.
Mother Teresa was wise. She explained beautifully what psychologists call ‘emotional contagion’, i.e. when you smile at people, they are automatically trying to mimic your smile. Therefore, you are making a difference to their mood and making the world a happier place.
Someone once said: ‘Greed is having a gift and not giving it!’
We might be in despair for now, but we can still offer our ‘gifts’ to others.
4. A smile lifts your depression.
Scientists claim that smiling releases endorphins, serotonin and natural painkillers. Great, isn’t it? A simple, effective and free drug that changes our biochemistry and makes us feel good.
5. Even putting a forced smile on your face makes you happier.
‘The world always looks brighter from behind a smile’ ~ Author Unknown.
Yes, we humans are that easy!
Studies have shown that when we smile unintentionally or even when we’re faking it, we still reap the benefits.
Richard Wiseman wrote about it in his blog. I highly recommend it.
(!!! 2013 Update: I noticed that Richard’s article is no longer available on his site. 🙁 🙁
I will try to find another link that supports that claim and post it here soon).
So, with all these great reasons to wear a smile, we must start practising.
If you are anything like I used to be, smiling has possibly ceased to be your natural facial expression.
Let me share a few of my tips with you:
- Don’t practise smiling in front of a mirror, unless you find it easy to do, as it can put you off practising if your smile doesn’t look genuine. Remember that even a fake smile carries the benefits.
- Practise smiling a few times a day, as you need to exercise those facial muscles: smile, hold to a count of 20, then release. Try to reveal your teeth and narrow your eyes (as this is how a genuine smile should look).
- If you find yourself bursting into tears while practising smiling, have a good cry to release bottled-up emotions. Then try to finish with a smile.
- If you are living alone, surround yourself with pictures and photos of smiling people. Smile with them!
- When you catch a smile from a stranger, really appreciate and cherish this gift.
I love hearing your comments, especially:
What are your views on smiling? What do you find hard? What do you find easy? What are your challenges? Successes?
I am sending my best and loving smile your way!
Photo by: 123RF Stock Photos