THE BLOG

7 Solid Reasons to Smile

02/19/2011 11:02 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Why smile? Because you can. I do not mean to be flippant. The better question might be, "Why would you want to smile?" -- especially if you are feeling sad, angry or frustrated. I will come to that. Read on.

This week saw the publication of Drs Ron and Mary Hulnick's latest book, "Loyalty To Your Soul." I listened to an inspiring interview with them on Hay House Radio. Among other topics, they spoke about the freedom and benefits to be gained from exercising personal accountability. Personal responsibility -- our ability to respond -- opens the "I can" conversation.

In his new book, "Workarounds That Work," Russell Bishop illustrates the freedom of choice we each have in situations that seem to block us. We have choices. We can.

Philosopher Rene Descartes famously said, "I think, therefore I am."

These days, I would say, "I am, therefore I can."

Celebrity Smilers

Actors Colin Firth, Dame Judi Dench, Julia Roberts, and Leigh Taylor Young have award winning smiles. Even when Dame Judi is playing a serious role, I can always detect a sparkle of humour in her eyes. A smile could break through at any moment.

If you are feeling down and dispirited, you may well have every viable reason for suffering a bad mood. Forcing a smile could be denial of what is so for you in that moment, and stressful. Have you ever "had" to smile to a number of people on a formal occasion, and found yourself suffering from an aching jaw as a result?

There is plenty to cause desperation and distress in our presently crazy and apparently confused world. You would have to be a robot not to be challenged by it from time to time. This is why we need counter measures -- not only to survive in the chaos, but also eventually to thrive, in spite of it.

If you are feeling out of sorts, it is better to take a moment to acknowledge that to yourself inwardly. Then take a deep breath. Let it go. Do not dwell in a heavy mood longer than is necessary. Sometimes, bad feelings are there to catch your attention. Awareness of them gives you choices. You can stay, or you can go. Let go, relax, be patient. Sooner or later, everything changes. Smile.

In my recent post, "Seven Rules For Getting Unstuck," I identified smiling as a key strategy for getting free of a particularly heavy frame of mind and emotions. It amazed me how something so simple and doable could make such a profound difference in my ability to function effectively again.

Here are seven reasons to consider why you might want to smile more:

  1. Smiling for Your Health. In his article, "Smile, Laugh, Connect: The Key to Increased Morale," Dale L. Anderson, M.D. writes about smiling releasing the endorphins which help to reduce pain, relax muscles and enhance the immune system.
  2. Smiling to Be More Resourceful in a Challenging Situation. If you have an important interview, or a conflict to resolve, take a deep breath and smile to yourself. Smiling will help you to feel more in charge and able to deal with whatever takes place.
  3. Smiling for a Better Night's Sleep. When your day has been stressful, smile as you lie down. Recall happy memories. Relaxing with a smile will assist you to let go of the day and enter a more peaceful rest.
  4. Smiling for Opening Doors to More of the Good in Your Life. If necessary, "fake it until you make it." Even if at this moment you do not feel you have anything to smile about, smile anyway. When you do this enough, you will soon find that you have plenty to smile about.
  5. Smiling to Lift Your Spirits: It Is Free and Does Not Put on Weight. Foods like chocolate and ice cream can help you to feel good, but the side-effect can be inches on the waistline. When you smile, it is like opening a door to the joy within you. You can smile when no one else is around, and you will feel less alone. Smiling will make you look younger.
  6. Smiling to Connect With Others. When you smile, you communicate openness and become more attractive. People will warm to you. Smiling as you speak on the phone will enrich your conversation. A smile indicates a certain trust and confidence that no matter what is going on, you are in touch with the goodness of life. You have something to smile about.
  7. Smiling to Serve . You never know the comfort a smile may offer to a person immersed in their troubles. A miserable wet day is a great time to smile, as you dodge by others huddled under umbrellas on the street.

Which memories make you smile? Whose smile most warms you? I would love to hear from you. Keep smiling!

***

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