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 of North Carolina University, 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 realise 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.