I love to smile and laugh, not only because it makes me feel so good but because it creates happy molecules that seem to influence everyone and everything around me. It also reminds me to not take life too seriously.
Smiling is our natural state. Researchers have identified that 3D ultrasounds show that we are actually smiling in the bellies of our mothers. It's not just us humans who emote their grins. I spend most of my time immersed in nature, and I've noticed many animals wearing smiles across their faces. Here are just a few reasons to make you smile:
Smiling boosts mood and vitality
The act of a simply smile helps to reduce stress hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine while increasing serotonin and endorphins (aka the happy molecules). One study found that a smile could provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars! It is no wonder that smiling is said to lower blood pressure and propel you into a state of bliss. When sad or depressed, try smiling and tuning into your heart, then observe how quickly it brings you back to your true vital state of unlimited potential.
Smiling increases energy
I have been practicing Qigong since my early racing days. My teachers taught me that smiling opens up the central channel of our bodies and allows all kinds of energy to become available to us. It is a way of tapping into the main line of life force available to us 24/7.
Smiling helps change your outlook
I learned what the energy behind a smile felt like when I was racing. When things got tough, as they normally did around the end of an Ironman, I learned that if I could just smile, it would change my entire outlook and literally boost me forward. As I pushed through the most grueling parts of the race, I would simply smile, even if it was occasionally forced, and I'd find an extra pep in my step, reminding me to lighten up and have fun with each step. I even put a little smiley face on the handle bars of my bike with the word "YES"! Many times I felt like giving up in the middle of a race, and then I'd glance down at my handle bars and that little smiley face would remind and inspire me to flip the switch from discomfort and misery to that "anything is possible" feeling; and it worked!
Smiling is a simple, fast and effective meditation.
Smiling is a one second meditation that can help you relax, tune your focus inward, and uplifts both your individual spirit and the energy of the world around you. Many people want to to save the planet and don't know where to begin. Well, could it really be this easy? Just beam and spread the love!
Smiling will make you beautiful
Smiling makes you look more youthful and attractive. Studies show that up to 70% of men think women are more attractive when they are smiling than when they have a face full of makeup. Smiling tones the facial muscles, brightens your eyes, and helps your inner shine come to the surface. If you want to feel younger, remember that children smile about hundreds of times per day. Thus, to look and feel younger, start smiling!
Smiling improves social life
Smiling helps you find friends. Smiling got me into cheerleading and eventually to become homecoming queen. With Women's Quest, I travel to many different countries and the one universal language is the SMILE. I make instant buddies everywhere I go because I smile. We can use our smiling powers to positively impact anything and everything. One of my favorite sayings of all time by Thich Nhat Hanh is "Go slowly, breathe and smile."
Go Slowly: Enjoy every moment of this precious life. Don't rush through your day without stopping to smile, opening yourself to the beauty and magic of everything around you.
Breathe: When you tap into your heart energy by focusing on long, slow, and deep breaths, you will immediately change your energy field which will open you to more goodness.
Smile: Allow grace to align you with what you are naturally. You are the "God spark" of all that is beautiful, magical and wonderful. When you smile, you align with the divine part of yourself, which is this internal giggle of delight that is just happy to be alive. Smiling is an easy and natural way to lighten up.
I'd love to learn how a smile has affected your life or the life of someone around you. Share your stories in the comments below.