A Reason To Smile
Friday 1st October is World Smile Day and boy could we all do with some smiles right now! As for it being on a Friday that’s perfect too, we live in a world of Friday #’s – admit it, who doesn’t start the Friday countdown from Tuesday!!!
BUT smiling is not just for the 1st of October or for Fridays! We’ve pulled together a little Smiling Guide to help ‘turn that sad face upside down’!
What is a Smile?
Simple hey? But it may not be as straightforward we all think!
There is the physical act of smiling and then society’s interpretation given to it.
A smile is one of the first things our faces do when we arrive in the world. Whilst new parents see it as a reaction to their presence it is, I’m afraid, just a reflex. We don’t actually smile in a social way until around our 6th to 8th week in the world.
So yes, smiling is communicative, an indication of happiness and a key part of social interaction, but it has much more significance to our everyday lives than that.
The Importance of a Smile
We’re not going to get into the mechanics of smiling as that takes the magic away. We want to focus on why we should smile (especially with the challenges of recent times!). The ‘act’ of smiling has been proven to have short- and long-term benefits on our health and wellbeing, so we really should make a conscious effort to smile every day, whether in public or alone.
- Smiling Elevates Our Mood & Helps Us Stay Positive
Next time you’re feeling low, smile! There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better. Without getting too ‘sciencey’, it activates neural messaging in your brain and releases mood-boosting chemical like endorphins, dopamine and serotonin. Basically, it ‘tricks’ the brain and body that you’ve so go this! - helping elevate your mood. Think of smiling as a natural anti-depressant.
Fun Test: Smile – Try to think of something negative (nothing too deep!!) without losing the smile. It’s almost like trying to sneeze with your eyes open 😊 Go on give it a go!
- Smiling Is A Great Stress Reliever & Can Boost Productivity
Stress is a powerful emotion which can ruin our mood and wear us out. Our face is the biggest giveaway when we are stressed.
Even if we don’t feel like smiling, putting a smile on our face will help us take control and trigger those all-important positive mind tricks. It will help reduce stress and as a result increase productivity. If that’s not enough incentive to smile, it will also make us look less tired, worn down and overwhelmed. Positive emotions are invigorating, negative ones are draining.
- A Smile Goes A Long Way
You know when you yawn and the person you’re with yawns too? Well, it’s the same with a smile. Happiness spreads happiness so why not brighten the days of others with just one simple smile – you could fill a room with joy within minutes. Being a light in a room lets others know you’re there for them, through the sunshine AND the rain. Be someone else’s rainbow.
- Smiling Boosts Our Immune System
Our immune system is affected by things like stress and mental health issues. When our lives are crazy and we’re constantly running around, feeling tired we are prone to colds and illnesses. But smiles can make a difference as our immune function improves when we feel more relaxed. Smiling will prop it up and help fight illness.
- Smiling Makes Us Look Younger & Attractive
We are naturally drawn to smiles and the people behind them. Smiles are like a big ‘welcome’ sign, letting outsiders in. Not only that, smiling is also like a workout for the face. When we smile we use the muscles to lift our face which automatically make us look younger. The muscles in your face are like the rest of your body – don’t use them they weaken, lose mass and become wrinkly.
So show off your ‘happy’ by smiling throughout the day and who knows, you may stay looking young for many years. Who needs a facelift!!!
- Smiling Can Help Relieve Pain
The biggest of ironies we know! Whilst smiling is the last thing we feel like doing when in pain a report has shown laughter causes the body to release its own natural painkillers relaxing our body and reducing physical pain. It also increases our pain threshold so we can endure pain for longer.
Try a laughter/distraction technique – watch a comedy, listen to a funny film, spend time with family and friends who make you smile.
So in summary, with all these perks in mind ask yourself what reason have we got not to smile
Smile your way to happiness, health and helping others!
Things to Make You Smile
Call an old friend – you know you’ve been meaning to, and they’d love to hear from you. Make arrangements to see each other as soon as you can to give yourself something to look forward to
Send a hand-written note to a loved one – just think how lovely it would be to receive something other than bills in the post! Share feelings, stories and memories and you will be sure to have a smile on your face and put one on theirs too
Try a new skill – it’s good to try something new. You will hopefully enjoy the process and have a wonderful sense of achievement as you learn. Make sure you sit back and appreciate what you have created or achieved
Tackle that ‘to do’ list – you may think “How on earth will this make me smile! There’s a reason I’ve been putting it off!” – but think of the end result, you will be so happy to cross something off the list and reap the benefits of doing so
Read a good book – if you struggle to choose books jump online, ask a friend for recommendations. With the right book you will find yourself smiling without even realising it
Make someone else’s day – it doesn’t have to be anything major. Help someone who is struggling to carry their groceries, drop a few dollars in a charity collection box, give a compliment to a stranger, offer your seat on the bus to someone in more need of it, or simply smile and share the love.
Watch a funny movie – even if you’ve seen it a hundred times. Laughter is good for the soul.
Daydream – allow your mind to wander and think ‘happy thoughts’ – holidays, loved ones, memories….
Look through family albums – with all the convenience of technology we sometimes forget the joy of flicking through a photo album. They hold a special magical and poignant quality you just can’t get from swiping through a screen.
Run a bath - fill it with bubbles, light a candle or four (yes we had to mention candles!!!), play your favourite tunes. Feel pampered and enjoy it!
Get outside – we know this isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds but you could simply eat your lunch on the porch, go for a short walk, sit in the garden or a nearby park. Make the most of nature –
- Smell the roses - take in deep breaths, fill your body and mind with the fresh fragrant air that surrounds you
- Go barefoot - enjoy the feeling of grass, sand, water beneath your feet; feel the sun’s warmth on your skin
- Lift your head – stop, look around, be aware of the natural beauty around you
Retail Therapy – cheer yourself up with some online or (if you can) instore retail therapy but remember to do so within your means – overspending brings a whole other world of stress you don’t need. Try to shop locally, support small businesses and help your community flourish, that way everyone benefits
Playtime – okay, stay with us on this one. Go back in time to school break when life was much simpler. Try to hula a hula hoop or jump a jump rope. No matter how good (or bad!) you are it will be impossible not to smile and feel like a child again!
Be thankful – write down reasons to be grateful so you can focus on the positives and get those mind tricking endorphins going. It can be something as simple as a good hair day, the sun shining through the window, a cuddle from your kids.
Night night – at bedtime create an oasis of calm so your mind and body are relaxed. Place a calming reed diffuser in your room, apply soothing oils to your temples or pillowcase, dim the lights, take some deep breaths, close your eyes, relax and (of course!!) think of things that make you smile. Sweet dreams!