"Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through...for you "
Nat King Cole crooned those words sixty years ago and every time I hear them I A) think of Sleepless in Seattle (my moms favorite movie when I was growing up) and B) I think of the odd truth in the words which melt smother than butter on toast.
I recently heard a TedTalk in which Ron Gutman speaks to the power of a smile. I was amazed! I couldn't help but smile while listening and I have continued to (consciously) practice smiling ever since.
I smile at strangers, I smile while doing yoga, listening to podcasts, driving to and from a job. Sure, I feel a little like a crazy person smiling to myself, but you guys, it really does make you feel better! AND many people will smile BACK.
"Even the simulation of an emotion tends to arouse it in our minds."-Charles Darwin 1872
Ron explains how Swedish researchers discovered that ONE SMILE can release the same amount of brain stimulation as (up to) 2,000 bars of chocolate! That same study argued that a smile can generate the same brain activity as receiving $25,000 cash... smile enough and you will have the emotional wealth equivalent of Donald Trumps bank accounts in no time.
Not only is smiling good for your brain, it is good for your health. Smiling helps control the amount of stress induced chemicals in your body. So really, we just need our therapists to prescribe us 200 smiles a-day to keep the blues at bay. I am kidding of course, but also slightly serious.
"Peace begins with a smile"- Mother Teresa
How much better off would we be if we learned to take on the heart of a child? Children smile 400 times PER DAY on average. That is incredible. Can you imagine if we learned to let our daily stressors roll off our backs? Trading them in like the shabby, rusted out things they are, for a bright and shiny day full of promise and hope (easier said then done obviously, but worth aspiring to none the less).
Say CHEESE! Let those lines by your eyes deepen, the creases in your cheeks become more prominent, they are your badges, your medals of honor, for you have lived a life chuck full of smiling.
*Photos from a day full of smiles, captured by the wonderful Jillian Bowes