We normally smile when we are happy and when we are in a good place in our lives. Have you ever seen someone that’s tight lipped and never smiles? We may not know anything about them, but we usually immediately assume that they must be unhappy. Smiling, for most of us, is synonymous with a good feeling and, likewise, frowning with a bad feeling. Even when we receive a smile from someone else, it ordinarily makes us feel good. There is research that states there are health benefits to smiling: it changes our mood; it increases our longevity (lowers blood pressure, relieves stress); and it also increases our opportunity for success.*
In the article There’s Magic in Your Smile,* * it stated that, “each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain.” This is because the brain releases endorphins which lowers stress and improves our overall mood. Surprisingly, even forcing a smile has the same benefits. This is vitally important because we tend to rely on what we do not “feel” like doing. We will say things like, “I’m in my “feelings,” or “I’m feeling some type of way.” Nevertheless, regardless of how we feel, the research shows that we do not have to wait until we feel like smiling, we can fake a smile and still reap the benefits.
Proverbs 17:22 indicates that, “A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Look below at some other translations:
Amplified – A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Message – A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.
New International Version – A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Passion – A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression.
Voice – A joy-filled heart is curative balm, but a broken spirit hurts all the way to the bone.
According to the research mentioned above, smiling causes us to feel happy and it boosts our mood; therefore, when we smile, we receive the benefits of Proverbs 17:22. On the other hand, when we walk around without a smile and living in our feelings/emotions, the latter portion of that verse can show up in our lives through sickness, depression, tiredness, and bad attitudes. Of course, smiling is not a cure all, but it is a start.
It is worth it to put forth an effort to smile because, it will not only make us feel better, it will also make those around us feel better. Spread some feel good with a smile. So, as my great grandson would say, “Cheese.”
*The Top 7 Health Benefits of Smiling, https://benefitsbridge.unitedconcordia.com
**Riggio, Ronald, Ph.D., There’s Magic in Your Smile, Psychology Today, June 25, 2012.