We live in a world of violence, self-indulgence and entitled behaviors. Our daily news can be both overwhelming and depressing. But, how different could things be if we all embraced a few positive changes? What are the endless possibilities that could come about if we found ways to support, encourage and empower one another? Each month, we’ll explore a new way to embrace a way to live more gently, and hopefully, create a ripple effect in the lives around us.
June: National Smile Month (May 18-June 18, 2015)
Wise Words: “It takes a lot of work from the face to let out a smile, but just think what good smiling can bring to the most important muscle of the body…the heart.” ~ Author Unknown
Technically, National Smile Month is really about oral health. And yes, it is very important. Be sure you’re brushing morning and night and flossing every day. Personally, I highly recommend the Oral-B Vitality. I’m expecting an extra good check up when I see my dentist in August.
But I digress. Your smile is incredibly powerful. One could even say that it’s magical. It’s definitely contagious. You pass someone on the street and smile. The stranger then gives it to the cashier at the grocery store. The grocery store cashier passes it along to his or her customer, who then, gives it to a next-door neighbor. It’s a ripple effect that can literally change the outcome of a person’s day. It is the ultimate in pay-it-forward.
Swedish scientists conducted a test in which participants looked at other subjects who were smiling. The reaction was almost involuntary, and I can speak to that from experience. Just ask my husband or my son. Whey I’m mad at them, they both know they just need to smile because I’m going to smile back; I can’t help it. And immediately, no matter how much I try to resist it, I get over whatever I’m mad about. After all, it’s hard to stay stern and angry when you start smiling and then start laughing because you didn’t want to smile…sound familiar to anyone else? Surely, I’m not the only one this has happened to.
The amazing thing about smiling is that it not only benefits the recipient, it benefits the giver. How many times have you ever smiled at someone, and felt your own energy increase, a spring in your step and feeling of contentment? While I’m far from a science wizard, the effects have been studied. “Psychology Today” reports that the act of smiling can release endorphins which are a natural pain reliever. Smiling has also been proven to lower heart rates and blood pressure, and it can also alleviate stress.
Smiling is a universal language that is spoken by everyone, including newborns who are born with the ability to smile. It improves personal appearance and can even help you climb that corporate ladder! It’s globally accepted as a sign of happiness and acceptance.
What is stopping you? Start each day with a smile…try it for a month, and see how it impacts your overall outlook. When we think about “Living Gently,” we think of ways we can improve our lives, our communities and even the world! Few things can be as easy as a simple smile. It costs nothing and gives so much! You’re not only giving your family, friends, neighbors and strangers a boost to their days, you’re improving their health! It’s just a saying — it’s the truth, “Smile, and the world smiles back!”