Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available. ~Jim Beggs
Ever see someone who’s face reads “Please check your cheerfulness at the door”? Deep frown lines, eyes that bore holes when they look at you, and a face that would make the Grinch squirm?
So how does one end up waking up one morning with a face that growls at everyone it meets? I must admit I have always been a little afraid that I might cross the line of crankiness and wakeup looking like the grouch. So far so good.
I often smile at strangers when passing on the street. It’s the small town girl in me, I can’t help it. When I’m lucky they grin back. Sometimes however they’ll shoot me a look that says they’d rather pull a hamstring than smile back. It’s as if they are genuinely pissed off that someone has the nerves to smile at them. Other times they observe me as if I am an alien life form come to invade their angry planet. And of course there are ones who only manage to curl up one side of their mouth. Sure, it’s technically a sneer, but I imagine it is a smile trying to get out.
So what’s my yogic point here? Smiling is important, it’s basically yoga for your face. Those cheeks need a grin like your leg muscles need downward dog. Studies show that there are many mental, emotional and social benefits from smiling. It reduces stress, makes you happier, and makes the opposite sex find you more attractive. (Go gettem’ tiger!)
A few more smile motivating facts:
1. If you can’t smile at least try not to frown. Studies show that adults who get Botox for their frown lines report feeling less depression after the procedure. I am not suggesting you go get botox, but there is clearly a mind-face connection at work.
2. Smiles are more attractive than makeup: A recent studies show that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.
3. Smiling makes you memorable. You are 3 time more likely to remember the person that is smiling over the one that is wearing a negative or neutral expression.
4. Smiling improves the way others see you. 72% of people think of those who smile often as being more confident and successful.
5. Smiling helps You make new friends. 86% of people say that they are more likely to strike up conversations with strangers if they are smiling.
6. Even a fake smile will lift your mood. Your body releases endorphins Serotonin, Dopamine and Morphine when you smile. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that reduces fear and worry. Dopamine squashes negative emotions. Morphine is a powerful pain-killer. Enjoy the natural high!
7. Smiling at others is a way to show Ahimsa (non-violence). A smile is a non-verbal way to communicate non-violence. Scientists have found that smiles reduce aggression in both the giver and the receiver.
8. Smiling makes you healthier. Smiling activates the central nervous System and boosts your immune system. It lowers your blood pressure, regulates your heartbeat, and enhances respiration. Those lil’ guys the white blood cells (Leukocytes) activate as well! They are on the front lines attacking foreign bacteria, viruses, and toxins keeping you disease free!
9. Fake smiling can lead to genuine smiling and real happiness. Fake smile for 20 seconds for seven (7) days, and it creates a neural pathway in your brain.Continue for 21 consecutive days and fake smiling becomes hardwired into your brain becoming a genuine smile!
10. Happy people live 9 years longer than unhappy ones.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” - Thich Nhat Hanh