“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald
As lockdown restrictions continue to ease and everyone looks forward to what’s left of the year, it’s tempting to swap one lot of worry for another. After all, no one can predict the future, and at the moment it’s hard to understand what the real toll recent events will actually have on us all. What the cost will be for the everyday person in terms of job losses and business closures, not to mention much needed, and still now postponed surgery and healthcare issues. These and other burning questions are, I’m sure, everpresent amongst many of us at the moment. On a personal level, I have, and continue to believe there’s a lot that doesn’t add up, questions that are not being addressed. This has prompted me to seek my own answers, carry out some of my own in-depth research, which has proved interesting to say the least. I’ve learned a lot. But for now, all I can safely conclude is, all is not as it necessarily appears to be. Except an agenda perhaps to keep us fearful, even divided. Which isn’t good for anyone’s health? So for now, like so many others, I’m concentrating on getting back to some sort of ‘normality’, which I’ve vowed to do with a smile.
Facial expressions have an enormous impact on mood. We are born with the ability to smile; yet as we age, we smile less. Research suggests that on average, a child will smile 400 times per day compared to adults who smile just 40-50 times per day. When we naturally feel good, we smile. However, we don’t have to be in a good mood to smile, it’s a tool we can use when we’re feeling down to bring us back up. Science has shown that the simple act of smiling has the power to boost a person’s mood by signaling to the brain to tell it we are happy, which in turn releases cortisol and endorphins into our bodies, thus lowering stress levels and bringing about a sense of mild euphoria.
Other health benefits include:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Increased endurance
- Reduced pain
- Reduced stress
- Strengthened immune system
Also, according to an article by Earlexia Norwood, M.D. (2017) smiling, as I’ve long suspected, is contagious. Norwood explains that, “when we smile we activate neurons in the brain that fire a synchronising feature. You’ll notice that one smile will lead to additional smiles, not just for you, but for those around you.” In other words, when we smile, the world smiles with us.
My advice? Take a break from social media, turn off the news, and smile. Why? Because it’s good for you!