It’s called a smile. Try it. First, stand up in front of a mirror and smile big. Form your smile first with your mouth, lifting the corners of your mouth way up. Then allow your face to soften and your temples to relax. Hold your smile for a few minutes. If it starts to fade, re-form it and keep holding. As you hold, examine first how your body reacts. You will find that the muscles begin to relax, the heart rate slows down, and the breathing slows as it deepens. Notice the change in your thoughts. Are you feeling more positive, calm, and joyous?
Many studies have shown that this image of you smiling will remain with you throughout the day and initiates a series of bio-chemical events that consequently lead to dramatic changes within the body:
🙂 It tells the body that everything is okay and to turn off the pumping of adrenaline into the body, immediately.
🙂 It lowers your blood pressure, immediately.
🙂 It boosts your immune system, immediately.
🙂 It releases endorphins, natural painkillers and serotonin, immediately.
🙂 It creates a positive mind, which lessens the stress of problems, increases the ability to solve problems and extends lifespan.
🙂 It lessens the effects of negative information that we are constantly bombarded with, such as the daily news
🙂 It lifts the moods of those around you causing people to treat you with joy and happiness.
One interesting study on the benefits of smiling found that smiling has a similar effect to eating roughly 2,000 chocolate bars. (Now, that’s got to get your attention!)
Aside from the daily smile ritual, a meaningful smile also comes in handy when you are upset or very sad. It will feel unnatural and awkward at first. But it becomes easier and feels more natural as you practice. The more you apply this strategy, the easier it becomes to boost your spirit on demand in the future. Soon you will find that while you can’t keep bad things from happening, you can control the way they affect you.
I know what you are thinking, “it seems too simple to be true—just smile and have all these miraculous things happen inside of me?” But some of the most profound truths are quite simple and this is one of them.
Not only does a smile encourage us to release negativity, but it also has a positive influence on those around us as well. Smiling, similar to laughter, is contagious. Your smile will bring smiles to others around you. This leads to a chain reaction of positivity all around you. It is a well-established scientific fact that positive energy heals.
When we speak of feeling low we tend to describe sadness, loneliness, fear, anger, or confusion. Rarely do we use the word “comfort,” and yet comfort is what makes misery so difficult to get rid of. Although we do not like the situation we are in, sometimes allowing the misery to control our lives is easier than facing the challenge of rising against it. And so we find ourselves longing to curl up in bed or brood over our problems for hours on end. Yet with a simple smile you can break the comfort and take a major step towards healing.
So, the next time you find yourself frowning, look at your image in the mirror and smile. Discover at the positive effect it has on your thoughts, mood, and body. As you keep practicing this technique, you will soon start to learn how to look for and focus on the silver lining instead of the negative aspects.
So, make this holiday season a little more special for you and those around you by committing to start everyday with a big smile and no matter what life throws at you throughout the day, end it with a heart-felt smile as well. In my opinion, that will be the best gift of all to your loved ones.