Recently a close friend of mine, who is practising meditation told me to try meditation and keep smiling while doing so. I found this instruction a little odd, but decided to give it a go and started smiling while practicing meditation. A few days into it, I felt so calm and relaxed, and I was smiling! Now, when people tease me about always smiling I can’t help but want to shout, “It takes effort!”
Something about the act of smiling does something inside. It just makes you want to smile more. I was a bit surprised, as I have long been aware of the value of smiling. Many people think that smiling is something you do to be polite (etiquette) or only when you are feeling good (from within), but the truth is that smiling holds so much more for us, especially if we smile as a personal practice.
A true smile is one that turns up the corners of the mouth and causes crinkling around the eyes…(look in the mirror and see your eyes sparkle). Even scientists believe smiling relieves stress by helping you slow your breath and reduce your heart rate. According to a study by Professor Fritz Strack, Leonard L. Martin and Sabine Stepper, people who used their facial muscles to smile when viewing a cartoon found the cartoon to be funnier than those who didn’t smile. So it seems that by simply putting a smile upon your face is enough to improve your mood and let go of stress!
While I don’t necessarily have to have a happy thought in order to smile,it always helps if I find my own reasons to smile. And even if I don’t feel like smiling at first, once I put on a smile, it’s likely that it will quickly turn into a real thing. I can watch or read something funny, spend time with family and friends whose company I enjoy, or simply reflect on past experiences that brought me happiness. All it takes to bring a smile to my face is to think of my dog playing with her toy ball, or imagine dancing in the rain.
☆ “When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky” ~ Buddha ☆
I hope to find many reasons to smile this week, and take advantage of the warmth and good feelings that a smile can bring. And may this week smile on you!