Smile Power


     I have been dealing with some issues that have weighed very heavily on me. With these little clouds hanging overhead I haven't felt super perky.

     It is so easy to develop a scowl when I am dealing with struggles. Without even realizing it I wear a thick mask of harshness and pursed lips.

     Today I got out of the house. I had a few ordinary errands to run. Nothing special. As I walked through Costco I would occasionally glance at people walking by. When someone made eye contact I smiled politely. It is the decent thing to do after all. And you know what? Every single stranger smiled back. Each person's face broke into an unmistakable grin. Having my smile responded to and reflected back at me made it even bigger and more genuine. Until finally the smile reached my heart and danced in my eyes.

     The first real, true, heart-deep smile after too much stress and sadness feels sublime. Positively sublime. I could feel that smile create a radiant beam of softness in me where before there had only been hardness and bitterness. And before long I felt more shiny and sparkly than I had in days.

     Smiles truly have medicinal value. They actually affect brain circuitry in the hypothalamus and amygdala (the parts of your brain that deal with emotional processing and response). “It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having. It’s like a feedback loop.”(Scientic American)

      Even when it feels like too much to ask. Even when you are bogged down with heavy junk. Even when you can't fathom feeling happy in the least. Especially then. Smile. It can change your heart.

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