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Smiling is an Art that Comes from the Heart

“Smiling is an Art that comes from the heart and should be practised all the time,” so said my first Yoga teacher at the end of every class.

happy smile-beach

Smiling is something that is vital and costs nothing to share with others. It is a beautiful message to those with whom you interact.

Blogger Marlene inspires me with pearls of wisdom. In discussing the desire for pedicures and manicures in a previous StPA post, Marlene indicated she keeps it real without fussing about adorning her body as she gets older.

But there’s one thing she works on each morning, before leaving the house:

The only thing I pay attention to before going out in the morning any more, other than being clean and tidy, is my smile. As crooked as it is, I put it on anyway.

Marlene, In Search of it All

Marlene has a medical condition that impacts on her smile, but she practises it regardless.

I admire those who fuss over hair, or spend hours putting on chemical colours to facial skin. I can’t do it. I cover up age spots but disguising them is a chore. I love that Marlene starts her day by attending to nothing more than her smile.

Sharing a Smile is therapeutic – Try it!

Practise and share your smile with others.

Try sharing your smile with someone your encounter today, or tomorrow.

Share it with someone who is too sad/bored/upset to smile. Try it for a week with those who don’t possess a genuinely boundless, natural smile.

Like this lovely lady pictured below who can’t help but smile! A big, friendly smile that spreads warm fuzzy feelings. What’s not to love?

Having met the lady pictured, several times, I noticed how her smile stands out and exudes happiness. Although she wears make-up in connection with her occupation, her smile exudes joy. She is almost always smiling, especially when speaking face to face with others. It never seems inappropriate.

This smile makes others happy. You just cannot help but smile back at her!

Smiling changes brain chemistry.

For many years, unless I was laughing, I have not had a natural smile. In the past, I often thought I was smiling, but to others, it appeared as a neutral expression or, a frown. My smile needed work and now I practice it more than ever. But it wasn’t always like that.

My frown is somewhat genetic.

I say genetic. In photographs of one of my grandmothers there is that same expression I have, the same knitted eyebrows that I see in photographs of me as a younger person. I never met that Grandmother. She was terminally ill and passed away in her 30s, yet it seems her imprint on me could still be found in my smile, or lack thereof.

As a young adult, others would suggest to me that I was looking stressed. I don’t like strong sunlight and tend to squint if when not wearing sunglasses, and sometimes even with sunglasses! Squinting makes it harder for my smile to be seen. Frowning and or squinting can make a person appear stressed.

In years past, I would dutifully smile for a photo yet once printed, only a neutral expression was visible on my face. Not a smile and not a frown. Understanding that, has made me exaggerate my smile in order for it to be seen.

Smiling is Contagious

The part of your brain that aids in smiling resides in an unconscious automatic response area. In other words, smiling truly is infectious. When someone genuinely smiles at you, you are behaviourally and psychologically conditioned to return the favour.

Or when you’re feeling happy, you have to make a conscious effort to suppress the smile that unconsciously wants to spread across your face. Aultman.org

Photo by Mwabonje on Pexels.com

Smiling triggers endorphins

In segments of my earlier years, I felt mildly depressed and was overloaded with far too many demands. There was no time to rest, so I soldiered on. Intentionally smiling despite it being semi-genuine, prevented me from completely melting down. It was a temporary distraction from my mental anguish.

Then something happened. I began to cope better. My sad moments declined. Life was still difficult, but things bothered me less. It was easier to smile and feel genuine about it.

I’d discovered there’s a scientific reason behind the power of a smile.

The Power of a Smile to Change

When you smile, your brain releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin, neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and increasing feelings of happiness -often the chemical that anti-depressant medications attempt to regulate.

This natural, feel-good chemical cocktail that your brain serves up helps you feel happier and more relaxed, and it can even lower your heart rate and blood pressure. [Aultman.org]

Smiling activates tiny molecules in your brain that are designed to fend off stress and facilitate communication between neurons in your brain.

Aultman.org

The Reluctant Smile

A person’s emotional state is self-evident in their smile or lack thereof.

Store cashiers are instructed to greet customers, enquire how their day is going and – smile. Some are genuinely interested, others are diffident or bored, their smile-less greetings and words said out of duty, rather than true feelings.

Where once I might reciprocate in mirroring a cashier’s dour mood, with the intent to silently absolve them from the need for further contrived communication, now I give them a big smile, like the lady pictured above. Smiling is contagious.

Smiling costs nothing and is easily and simply shared with others.

Spread a little joy in your world today.

Smile 🙂

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76 thoughts on “Smiling is an Art that Comes from the Heart”

  1. I suppose I’m quite a serious person, and certainly look dour in photographs, but when working I was always genuinely pleased to see my clients and know that I was smiling as they entered my room…and life with my husband before and after his serious illness gives plenty to smile about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you have had difficult times in your life, Helen but that your smile has won through the hardships and well done for showing such fortitude. I love that you have learnt to smile in response to small gratitudes, as a result. Yous said that you were quite a serious person, as I can be and definitely was. Were you like that as a teen/child as well?

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Interesting. My childhood supplied most of everything I needed but I never really felt supported or valued. I was sometimes lonely which I think makes for a dour or gloomy demeanour in adolescence and it takes a conscious effort to reverse or else it can become habitual.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. It can be hard for children who have mothers who are not maternal or benevolent. My own didn’t know how to be warm and loving as she herself had no knowledge of her own mother, (her own mother died when she was 2 years old). She describes her own mother as a faceless person. This affected the way my mother interacted with me. I reconciled that notion by eventually working out she did her best to be a Mother, under the circumstances, even though it was a pretty crap effort.
              I am glad to hear that you were able to find a positive/coping mechanism, in your situation too, by burying your head in your studies.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. By the way, you have been in my thoughts of late when I go out in the garden, as my choko vine is going absolutely crazy and I don’t even water it anymore…..

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, you caught me. I’ll be on the sofa watch tv. A scene causes a happy thought from years ago. I don’t realize I’m smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Like a TikTok video, I’m reliving happy, funny memories in my mind. My wife tells me I look like an idiot and asks why I’m smiling. “Never mind, you won’t understand.“ 😁

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah! I know the feeling of frowing and squinting, You too, huh? Although I am totally sure you don’t look like a moron in a photo. Those happenstance photos that catch you unawares are usually the most natural. For most people, smiling comes naturally. For me and perhaps you, we have to work on it, a little more. But practise pays off. I always think of my yoga teachers words, “Smiling is an Art that comes from the heart and should be practised all the time.” And that never fails to inspire me to practise more!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am not sure if smile comes naturally to me. Sometimes I wake up with a smile, a sign that it’s going to be a good day. I smile at people, but that’s a choice and I do it to show them I welcome them -and I mean it. I don’t like fake smiles, or smiles that don’t reach the eyes. When I smile it’s genuine and it comes from my inside -heart/soul or brain. 🙂
        (I do look like a moron on most pictures, it’s true and I proudly live with it)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t think I have seen a photo of you, Bridget, but it seems harsh and very self-deprecating to think of yourself as looking like a moron. One of my sons hates photos – he has refused and completely disallowed photos of himself since he was 14 years old. It is frustrating as he goes to great lengths to avoid them.
          He have always been more serious in his demeanour and doesn’t like seeing photos of himself but when he smiles it is a beautiful thing. He doesn’t realize how his face lights up. His eyes disappear too when he smiles, but that is adorable.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. You know you are absolutely right, Michelle. You can hear a smile on the phone. I worked as a telemarketer once, cold calling people to buy a subscription from winemakers and it really did help if you had a genuine smile on your face as you introduced yourself. I remember one receptionist colleague so clearly because of her happy smiling phone manner.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love to smile. Southern style, I wave at every vehicle that passes me on the small roads where I walk. The smile flashes on as the hand waves — automatic connection. I can’t see faces inside cars, but I often see hands waving back. My wave wouldn’t be complete without a smile. This sets me up for a pleasant day, and I hope it affects those who wave back. Smiles are priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smiles are priceless and also free! I like the sound of the Southern style of wave, Anne. And I am glad that continue to do it, even if you don’t know the occupants of the vehicles. Most of Australia is like that, but recently I heard of some parts where they would think it strange to do that and do not reciprocate if someone waves at them. How sad is that?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Dear Amanda,

      Your yoga teacher was certainly right and wise in stating that “Smiling is an Art that comes from the heart and should be practised all the time.”

      I concur with Anne Mehrling about smiling. The 13th of November was World Kindness Day! And the simplest way to be kind to others is to convey a friendly and genuine smile.

      Wishing you and Anne a productive November and a wonderful week doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most, whether intellectually, artistically, physically, spiritually or emotionally — preferably with plenty of smiles!

      Yours sincerely,
      SoundEagle

      Like

      1. You have left me smiling after that beautiful comment, SoundEagle! Thank you for your words. What a coincidence that I posted this around World Kindness day. I was not aware of that, but I do support it wholeheartedly and the suggestion to give away a friendly and genuine smile.
        I hope your November is as productive and indeed December too!
        Whatever you do, keep smiling! I will!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Dear Amanda,

          Thank you very much for your delightful reply! Whilst November is still around to tempt us with smiles, I hope that you have had plenty to smile about in October that has recently departed. May you come over and determine for yourself how well I have put together a many-splendoured post commemorating October in such an enticing way as to put plenty of smiles on your countenance from start to finish and even well beyond. Entitled “🌤️🍂 An October to Remember: Greeting Post-Pandemic and Post-Elizabethan Age 👑🏰 with Opals, Calendulas, Poems and Songs 📿🏵️📜🎶“, it is available at

          https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2022/10/31/an-october-to-remember-greeting-post-pandemic-and-post-elizabethan-age-with-opals-calendulas-poems-and-songs/

          Yours sincerely,SoundEagle

          Like

  3. I am just like you were Amanda and there’s a saying “resting bitch face”
    Not saying that was you! But definitely me, what I thought was neutral was in fact more of a grimace, but trying to relax my face I tend to look gormless
    I try and smile at strangers but I think in the Western world people do seem taken aback
    Having just been to Bali, Land of the Smiles, you definitely notice the difference 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know it is funny you mention Western Aus, Alison as we have some friends who moved from Tassie recently, via Perth. They tell me that noone greets others on the street, nor says hello to strangers and were so pleased when they moved to Queensland and people in the community would chat to them casually. I never realised that parts of Australia could be so different but it is many years since I have been to Perth. I can imagine the beautiful Balinese smiles! Their whole faces light up, don’t they? They don’t even need a reason to do so.

      Liked by 1 person

            1. I get that and they certainly is a mentality of separateness from the rest of Australia if by nothing else than by distance, but that didn’t account for their friendliness or lack thereof amongst Perth residents.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. I worked for the ATO for a few months, once upon a time too, but not on the phones. I can just imagine your upbeat, cheery telephone manner, Chris. It comes through in your writing too!

      Like

  4. I love this post, Amanda and thank you for the kind words. I learned to smile with my eyes when my face froze up until I finally got a little of it back several years later. There is nothing in the world I enjoy more than passing on a smile or even making someone laugh out loud. That is the sign of a successful day for me. When your smile gets to your eyes, you know you have on your best outfit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Smiling eyes – indeed, Marlene. That must have been quite a feat when the facial muscles were not wanting to cooperate. The clothes a person might wear are almost completely irrelevant, when you have smiley eyes! The whole face lights up. As long as you do wear SOME clothes! Being without any clothes might be a slight distraction from the happy eyes! Lol…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Looking at old pictures, when I reached my teens, I noticed I rarely smiled. I always thought I just didn’t have a handsome smile. I still don’t. But I find myself smiling more these days because (I guess) I just don’t take myself too seriously as I did in years past and because (definitely) I don’t give a damn what others think of me now.

    Like

    1. It seems a few of us serious kids learnt the value of smiling, when we grew up and not least of which was through noticing our lack of a natural smile, in photographs of ourselves.
      I notice in your comments on my post topics, Alejandro, that you often mention the lack of concern about judgment from and by others and how this is significant. I feel that this is not only a big part in anyone accepting themself, (even if you don’t think you have a handsome smile), and also feeling strong emotionally and mentally. That reminds me of the personal growth of a very old friend of mine, who was bullied mercilessly at primary school. I am even ashamed to say that I kept my distance from her as I didn’t want to be stigmatised along with her, on some occasions. Yet, the transformation to the person she became happened once she had moved on to a different school. At the new school, she was able to ditch the bullying and the ingrained labels of being a crybaby, and the transformation in her personality was phenomenal. She became a confident adult and was so much more capable socially than I ever was! She often explains her behaviour as a young kid by saying she worried so much about what others thought of her and one day, she realised she didn’t care about that anymore, and then and only then, she felt truly liberated. She has had a happy, fulfilling life and despite the bullying she had to endure. It is a gift to truly accept and understand yourself as she has done, at an early age and it sounds like you have also done. It took me far longer to become self-aware, I think and work towards acceptance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this. I have always hidden my smile as a kid because of how gummy it is and how small my teeth are. I need to smile more no matter what. Hopefully, make someone else smile.

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    1. Of course you should smile, no matter what. It is important that you do not deprive yourself of the benefits simply because you are worried others might dwell on or judge your smile. A natural smile is so much more powerful than that! Keep smiling, Ashley Ann.

      Like

  7. Smiling is a great feeling isn’t it. I for one am a constant smiling person who loves to smile and laugh😂

    It is healthy and it costs no penny to share that smile with others it is contagious 😂
    Thanks for this post

    Liked by 1 person

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