Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Just Smile

"Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family." - Mother Teresa

The idea of trying to start your day with a smile seems so simple, yet so many start with a disgruntled expression. The day will seemingly never get better because you have already set the dour mood.

The mood extends to your interactions with others which will create greater distance between you and others. But a smile creates connection. It is said, "a smile is the shortest distance between two people."

Just what is a smile though? In physiology, a smile is a facial expression formed by flexing those muscles most notably near both ends of the mouth. The smile can also be found around the eyes. It is also that well-known 'Smiley' image which is universally recognized.

The 'Smiley' face was created by a commercial artist named Harvey Ball, from Worcester, Massachusetts (USA) in 1963.

Harvey Ball over the years developed a concern that the original meaning or intent of his symbol was being lost. He is quoted as saying about the 'Smiley' symbol is it, “…just reflects what is inside every one of us – a smile is what we want to see when we look at another human being.”

He goes on to say, “Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes the world seems big and filled with problems that are too hard to understand much less solve. We start to believe that we are too small to make a difference. But that’s not true. The truth is that every one of us has the ability to make a difference every day.” It was out of those concerns came his idea for World Smile Day®.

The benefits of a smile can help improve your life as well. In an article titled Top 10 Reasons To Smile by Mark Stibich, Ph.D., the benefits seen are:

1. Smiling makes us attractive.
We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away -- but a smile draws them in.

2. Smiling Changes Our Mood
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There's a good chance you mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.

3. Smiling is Contagious
When someone is smiling they lighten up the room, change the moods of others, and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. Smile lots and you will draw people to you.

4. Smiling Relieves Stress
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced and you'll be better able to take action.

5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. Prevent the flu and colds by smiling.

6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?

7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug.

8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. Don't go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day -- you'll look younger and feel better.

9. Smiling Makes You Seem Successful
Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.

10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It's hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that "Life is Good!" Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.

So try to start your day with a smile and feel how it changes your day. Then pass it along to others throughout your day.

As Leo Buscaglia once said, "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."

Turn your life around, turn someone else's life around - all with a smile. And stay inspired my friends!

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