Of the many blogs posted thus far, Peace Begins with a Smile has been the most popular. Numerous people have spoken to me regarding it. In addition, as I’ve been smiling more in my life, I’ve been exquisitely pleased with the responses of others. Of note is when I go to the gym and check in—the people working behind the desk more and more greet me with a smile. And, of course, I smile back!
Another example involves unsolicited phone calls, which can sometimes cause frustration and aggravation. I now respond, “Although I’m not interested in your product, my wish is that you have a smiley rest of the day.” Invariably, I can tell the person is smiling as they remark back to me the same or, “Have a nice day!”
As a reminder, the benefits of smiling include:
- Improved mood—2010 research showed making yourself smile when you are feeling down improves mood and increases positive thoughts.
- Lower blood pressure—a 2009 review showed that laughter initially increases heart rate, followed by a period of muscle relaxation and a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, which helps reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Stress relief—a 2015 study published in Psychological Science showed that smiling results in a lower heart rate during stress tasks. Stress usually increases heart rate and blood pressure, so smiling when stressed provides lowering of both heart rate and blood pressure.
- Improved relationships—People who smile are perceived as being more likable, according to a 2014 study. Being likable makes it easier to build and maintain better relationships with others, which is important for overall health and well-being. Also, a 2010 study found that people with positive emotions have more stable marriages and better interpersonal skills.
- Strengthened immune function—Mayo Clinic reports that positive thoughts release molecules in the brain that fight stress and illness, while negative thoughts decrease the body’s immunity.
It has been some weeks since posting the first smiley blog with the information of such profound health benefits from smiling. Curiosity has the best of me, and I would like to know if and how you, dear reader, have experimented with this phenomenon. Also, if you're willing, take a moment to go inside and explore what it is that makes you smile right now. See if you can hold that image or memory (or whatever it is) in your heart. Notice any shifts in your body and whole being when that smile arises. Remember you can return to this feeling whenever you want, while being aware of the benefits of smiling. With a smile on my face, all comments will be much appreciated!!