Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Your smile literally moves you internally; your heart is touched, and your personality shifts. But most curiously, this tiny smile is not insignificant on a spiritual level either. This most simple human action, the everyday action of a smile, generates the most immense effects.
It opens up the portals of your real self, the sacred doorway of God’s power and might through which gush the celestial grace-power that is ever available to you, but which so many times you are unaware of. Even the most diminutive and common smile touches the innermost and tender parts of your inner core; it transforms you with the energy of heaven – that intangible place called your soul.
Positive psychology is the scientific study of well-being; it’s a unique and contemporary sub-discipline of psychology that focuses on what contributes to, not detracts from, human happiness. Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of traditional psychology.
Positive psychology is not interested in normalcy; rather it’s interested in why some people seem so mentally healthy, hardy, vigorous, and vital well beyond the “norm.” Instead of looking for what is “wrong,” positive psychology focuses on what is “right” and strong and stable and energizing about the person.
Of all the tools in positive psychology’s toolbox, smiling is perhaps the easiest to perform, the quickest acting, and the most effective in bringing about the tremendously positive effects discovered by positive psychology research.
The positive effects of smiling are legion: improved immune function, increased tolerance for pain and frustration, lowered stress and blood pressure, and even higher levels of creativity.
- Makes us attractive. We are drawn to people who smile. Frowns, scowls, and grimaces all push people away, but a smile draws them in.
- Changes our mood. It’s hard to be “moody” when we’re wearing a smile. A smile can “trick” our bodies into shifting our mood in a positive direction.
- Is contagious. A smile brightens up all those around us; it makes our lives happier.
- Relieves stress. Smiling saves us from appearing tired, worn down, and overwhelmed – all of which increase our internal stress levels.
- Boosts our immune system. Our immune system is hyper-sensitive to our mood; when we smile, we boost our mood which also strengthens our immune system making us less vulnerable to everything from colds and flu to infections of all types – even cancer.
- Lowers our blood pressure. When we reduce our stress, we experience a corresponding decrease in hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. All of these are chemicals that our bodies naturally produce. Endorphins increase our overall sense of well-being. Natural painkillers fight pain of all types, and serotonin regulates our mood.
- Injects more tone, freshness, and vibrancy into our appearance. Smiling shapes our faces in such a way that we look younger. Smiling works like a natural face lift. Smiling is an anti-gravity “miracle drug” that re-sculpts our facial muscles and gives us a new vitality.
- Makes us seem successful. Smiling raises our confidence level, gives us enhanced self-esteem, and improves our overall poise; all these give us an air of success.
- Helps us stay positive. Smiling is our best “attitude adjustment.” It’s hard to think of something negative when we’re smiling.
In my book The Power of Smiling, I offer 35 “Smiling Truisms”, which represent the fruit of my thought, prayer, and meditation on the impact of smiling on spiritual healing.