Smile more! It’s good for your health.

©Glow Images. Model used for illustrative purposes

How often do you smile – really smile? If your answer is a lot, then you’re well on your way to achieving a long and happy life. Smiling is good for your health, say experts. With this incentive in mind, it could be time to exercise those facial muscles, and smile more.

According to Professor Barbara Fredrickson, there’s growing evidence that smiles have a health-boosting effect. They reflect positive emotions which include joy, contentment and gratitude.  Studies show genuine smiles are linked to higher personal wellbeing, and even living longer. So to increase wellness, Fredrickson says we need “three positive emotions to lift us up for every one negative emotion that wears us down. So we need three or more smiles to each grimace.”

Although increasing your smiles sounds like a beneficial and health-producing thing to do, it’s not always easy to achieve. Some people believe they’re not the smiley kind. Others think they have not much to smile about. Are such individuals doomed to experience poor health as a result of being smile-less?  No way!  It’s possible to attain a sunny disposition with less effort than working-out at the gym.

Smiling is thought-based

Gaining a cheerful facial expression becomes easy when you realize that a smiling face is just an outward expression of what a person is thinking. People smile readily, when they’re thinking happy thoughts. An unsmiling face, is often the product of unhappy thoughts.  Understanding the thought-based nature of a smile, can lead to a person having more of them.

TIP:

● Nurture only thoughts that will light up your face.

● Dwell on constructive, optimistic, affirmative thinking.

● Resist constantly chewing over negative thoughts.

● If you’re in an unhappy situation, or having gloomy thoughts and feelings, take action and smile.

● Think about something good, then beam.

● Cultivate positive emotions that lead to a broad grin.

 

Don’t wait to smile

It can be tempting to not smile unless others do so first. The problem with taking this waiting approach, is that it could be a long time before you feel that burst of gladness that follows a smile.

TIP:

● Don’t wait for someone, or something , to make you feel happy and to prompt a smile.

● Take the initiative. Be the one to smile first at others.

● Be proactive.  At the check-out, bank or post office, smile at the person you’re speaking with.

● “Make your day” with a beaming smile. It can make another person’s day too.

 

“Put a smile on your dial”

A wise man once said, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s heart-lifting and smile-inducing. The qualities of contentment, satisfaction and balanced thinking, are not located “out there” somewhere. They’re present within each person’s consciousness. Happiness doesn’t depend on external factors for its existence. We have it already – 24/7.

TIP:

● Kindle the enduring spark of happiness that’s within you, and fan it into a warm facial glow.

● Take a moment to smile, especially when an unhappy thought comes along.

● If you need help to increase your quota of smiles, consider employing “extra help” in the form of tried-and-true meditation or prayer practices. These methods have been found to be smile-producing, and consequently, that makes them good for your health.

 

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I'm a Melbourne based health writer who provides a perspective on the connection between spirituality, thought and health. As a keen blogger, my aim is to provide the public with a diversity of health content including research into the mind-body connection and how thought affects health.

Comments

  1. Sharon Rooker-Brade says

    A loving smile can defuse an uncomfortable situation and attract people to want to know you. My mother always said “Smile and people will be attracted to you”.
    As a child I was teased about my strange bike, but when I started smiling at those making the remarks. They stopped.
    I also loved to go dancing and found I had many invitations when I waited with a smile.

    • says

      Thank you Sharon for your comment. Great idea about utilizing those opportunities to smile when in difficult situations. There’s a saying that goes something like this: “smile and the world smiles with you.” That’s what you’ve found. So well done.

    • says

      Thank you Rita for leaving a comment. It’s good to know that the ideas shared were a helpful reminder to you and more importantly were just what you needed. I’m sending a smile your way.

  2. Rose Palmer says

    Recently on a trip to Washington I found a book called “The Happiness Makeover” by M.J. Ryan.How to teach yourself to be Happy and Enjoy Every Day. #1. Smile more…It makes you happier. Thank you Beverly

    • says

      Thank you Rose for your comment. Good to know that others think that smiling makes you happier – which it does. A smile is a gift that keeps on giving. It improves health and lightens one’s heart.

  3. Wendy Lloyd-Jones says

    Beverly, as I was reading your article on smiling I was reminded of the opening words of a verse from the Bible; “Çhoose you this day. . . .”. Joshua 24:15. Really the outcome of each day is largely up to myself as an individual to make something of each day and hopefully touch others also. What better way than smiling often. Wendylj.

    • says

      Thank you Wendy for your comment. I like your idea of “choosing” to smile and thus choosing good health. A friendly smile does touch another person. It can make their day and ours too.

  4. Pauline Rita Noorts says

    Thank you Beverly for more helpful reminders as a song goes – let a smile be your umbrella–it keeps out protects and sure is a good thing to carry with you always,……….Pauline.

    • says

      Thank you Pauline for your comment. That is a nice analogy about a smile being like an umbrella. As you say a smile is a good thing to carry with you and best of all it helps keep us healthy.

  5. Anne Wiggs says

    Thank you Beverly for that wonderful reminder. It brings to my thought the renowned chef Maggie Beer. Whenever I have seen her on television shows, she just exudes happiness and joy from her magnificent smile and makes one feel joyful as well!
    I read once,to be the place God’s Love shines through, which to me is what it feels like when I smile or am smiled upon.

  6. says

    Thank you Anne for your comment. I agree that Maggie Beer does smile so effortlessly. I like your idea that a smile is the reflection of the divine Love. What a joy then to smile and receive a smile.

  7. Marion says

    There is a saying “smile and the world smiles with you”. I am sure that is true – and what a promise!

    • says

      Thank you Marion for your comment. That is a lovely promise to think that if we smile others will smile with us. And it’s also good to know that smiling at each other makes us all healthier. Now that’s got to be worth smiling about.