Smiling is good medicine.
I can remember recently trying to discipline my 5 year old. I was frustrated and trying to give him a good, solid, stern lecture that would teach a valuable lesson. As with many 5-year-olds, he doesn’t love being the recipient of my harsh tone, and he knows I can’t resist his sweet smile. So, what does the little guy do? In the middle of me talking about him making better choices, he flashes me the cutest little grin. Maybe it’s his dimples, maybe it’s his little teeth, maybe it’s the innocent way his smile reflects his desire to be loved. With his smile, I smile. Then his sister smiles. And soon, the mood has changed and I’m giving him a hug.
Even though I still finish that moment with the last word about making sure he tries to choose better next time, his smile was enough to lighten the mood and shift my outlook. It’s true. A smile is just that powerful.
As Thich Nhat Hanh the buddhist monk who teaches mindfulness says, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Truly, when people smile at us we get a wave of positive sentiment. When we smile, we feel better. Research suggests the power of the smile, even a forced smile induced by holding something between our teeth has an impact.
Here are some of the benefits of flashing that toothy grin
- Smiling activates neuropeptides that can help regulate stress through regulating heart rate, releasing neurotransmitters, and lowering blood pressure.
- Smiling is contagious. When you smile at others, they smile back. You look better when you smile. Research suggest that people who smile are seen as more attractive.
- Smiling is a great way to connect with others on a positive level.
- Smiling puts us in a better mood.
So, let’s smile the day away. You’ll not only brighten your day, but also brighten the day of those around you.