Don’t you love seeing a genuine smile? Smiles make me so happy! Alex and I are spending time with family and celebrating our niece Leila’s first birthday. Leila’s smile lights up the room! She smiles wide, her cheeks rosy, her eyes squinted, she’s fully committed and showing a mouth full of sweet baby teeth. Her smiles are warmhearted and genuine, it’s so precious that just thinking about it makes me smile, and really warms my heart!
Smiling has been a practice of mine for a longtime now. Especially when things feel challenging. I make sure I’m smiling wide – at myself in the mirror often and then sharing this gift of a smile with the world around me. Looking for a reason to smile? Take a moment to write down three reasons to be thankful for today – perhaps it’s the gift of being able to smile, the beauty of nature and the ability to breathe clean air.
If I need an extra boost I’ll add in a handful of jumping jacks and a dance break too.
American humorist Kin Hubbard once said, “If you haven’t seen your wife smile at a traffic cop, you haven’t seen her smile her prettiest!”
A big, wide smile can do more than make a person look great or influence a traffic cop. One study shows it lowers stress and aids psychological recovery after working at a stressful task.
At the University of California, Irvine, study co-author Sara Pressman says people making a full smile also performed better on the next task.
Dr. Pressman says the smile’s message of being nonthreatening creates a message to the brain signaling safety, which can translate to a lower heart rate and reduced stress level.
Some experts say only a genuine, full smile confers health benefits. It activates major muscles around the mouth and eyes. It generates positive emotions in the brain that are associated with spontaneous fun.
Other studies show that the intensity of a person’s smile can help predict life satisfaction over time and even longevity, according to psychologists at Yale University. By contrast, a polite smile activates only muscles around the mouth and does little else.
Body language coach Patti Wood of Atlanta tells clients to get their whole faces involved in a smile. That means bringing their cheeks higher and pulling their whole face upward. The eyes should show the warmth of a sincere smile.
Your smile has a positive impact on others. At the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, they say when people see a big smile, neurons fire in the brain and evoke a similar natural response as if they were smiling themselves.
“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ― Mother Teresa
May this post inspire you to smile, dream, to grow and to create in fabulously authentic ways. May we all deepen our sense of creativity, cultivate positive change, fulfillment and joy in our lives and take time to acknowledge all that we have to be thankful for! I truly appreciate your friendship, your continued support and generous referrals.
If you have any suggestions, questions or thoughts please call or email firstname.lastname@example.org. I truly look forward to hearing from you!
xo, Judith Rae