What can you do with a smile?
Help yourself and others.
Exercise makes me smile.
I exaggerate. I don’t always start out smiling, but my online yoga teacher seems to know when I am about to give up on a strenuous flow or difficult balancing pose.
That’s when I hear:
“Turn up the corners of your mouth.”
” Close your eyes and smile.”
Some days I want to slap the screen, but I try. I take one deep breath and turn up those corners while I push harder and keep going.
How can a simple smile accomplish so much?
French psychologist, Guillaume Duchenne, studied the emotional expressions and the muscles responsible for our smile. He found that the zygomatic major muscle in the cheek and the orbicularis oculi that encircle the eye socket work together to create a smile. But he also discovered that . . .
“The zygomatic major can be willed into action, but that only the “sweet emotions of the soul” force the orbicularis oculi to contract. “Its inertia, in smiling,” Duchenne wrote, “unmasks a false friend.” —Eric Jaffe
I prefer to focus on those smiles that can make a difference in the world, those “sweet emotions of the soul.” Those smiles can ripple across our families, friends, and anyone we encounter.
That’s the smile that keeps me pressing on when giving up would be so much easier. Beyond perseverance, smiling offers health benefits. A smile can help you:
Affect how others perceive you
Retain what you were born with—a smile
Smiling, like laughter, is contagious.
Let’s see how our smile can create a ripple effect this week.
Smiling can even help adjust your attitude.
If you want to dig into this topic, the psychological study of smiling will lead you down a delightful rabbit trail of smiles, or consider this newer study.
Need a musical lift? Try listening to Michael Bublé and what happens “When You’re Smiling.”
“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
Find a little wonder this week. We marveled at many wonders this week on a visit to the Houston Museum of Natural Science Museum and Burke Baker Planetarium.
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Thanks so much for reminding us how impactful a smile can be. Even when we don't feel particularly happy in the moment, putting on a smile can help lift our spirits and bring joy to those around us.
The quote by Hanh is one of my favorites. So I will share one by that famous writer, Unknown "A smile is the shortest distance between two people."
And this quote taped to my hairdresser's mirror. "Your day will go in the same direction as the corners of your mouth"
Thanks for all the smiles your writing and photos have given me.
I love this post, Kathryn. I agree with every word - smiling is so important and, as well as making us feel happier, can brighten the day of a stranger or passer-by. A long time ago, I worked with a personal development coach - she encouraged me to look at myself in the mirror and smile broadly. At first, I felt really silly doing this, even though I was alone at the time. She was right, though; it did make me feel more positive.
For a long time now, I have made a point of smiling at strangers and passers-by on my into town. Some people smile back, and I hope I've made a difference in their day. At other times, the person might not smile back, but rather than thinking they're being grumpy (as a friend commented once), I stop and think about what might be going on in their lives at the moment to cause them not to want to smile at someone they don't even know. None of us knows what's going on in other people's lives, but we never know - we might make a tiny difference in somebody's day. I like to think so, anyway.
I love your quotes and experiences of smiling, and I love that Michael Buble song, too. Thank you for sharing such a warm and smiley post. Big smiles for you 😊 Xx 💕