Tuesday, July 18, 2017

On the Benefits of Smiling

(My Mom at Hilo Botanical Garden, 2012)

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." ~Thich Nhat Hanh

                YOU MIGHT ASK: "Can we make ourselves smile and if so, why would we?"  It's a worthwhile question.  A few years ago (when I was in the middle of a time that was not so easy or happy), I happened to read an interview with Yoko Ono.  She said that after John was shot and killed, there were days she had to make herself smile.  She forced a smile because of her son...she didn't want him to see her sad and frowning all the time.  Smiling certainly didn't change the horrible facts she was dealing with -- the murder of her husband, the loss to their young son -- but it did change her reality.
                I am not saying it's good (or even possible!) to ignore the difficult facts of our lives -- whether they are in our personal lives or in our nation.  Actually I think we need to acknowledge truths, even those that are not pleasant.  (There are vast benefits from the truth  -- and much that can be written -- see my future blog post!)  However, even in midst of the bleakness that is sometimes the truth, it is possible to find a way to smile and even a forced smile yields many benefits.  

                Some super cool things that a smile does:
  • sends endorphins to your brain
  • causes other people to smile
  • changes your mood
  • changes your reality
  • changes the world
  • makes your face look more beautiful
                Seriously...try it on for size!  A little smile right now as you're reading...another tomorrow when you're stuck in traffic...and again the next day when you learn your ex is taking your kids to Paris....Make yourself smile....("Smile though your heart is aching.../That's the time you must keep trying/Smile, what's the use of crying/You'll find that life is still worthwhile if you'll just smile...")


  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/08/smiling-benefits_n_6598840.html
  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile
  • http://www.charliechaplin.com/en/articles/42-Smile-Lyrics
  • If you're interested, come to my workshop on finding your joie de vivre even in the middle of your difficult divorce.