Grin And Bear It: Why Smiling Has A Positive Impact On Our Lives

There are a few things in life I chase, things I crave which are important to me. A good sleep. I forever search for the best sleep and I try to perfect it like an art.

The true self is another thing I strive for. I have written about this several times now.

Calmness, within and without is another of my goals. A destination I journey towards. I am interested in the effects a calm mind has on my life and my personality and the opposite also, for instance, I find I am quick to grind my teeth when I become angry. The effect of this simple act is amazing and lasting. Even as I write this I feel the urge to grit my teeth together and press. Even the thoughts of this act suggest anger in my mind.

“Facial feedback response,” Darwin called it. Your brains reaction to your facial expression.

Anger = Grit Teeth

Grit Teeth = Anger

On a more positive note, the opposite is also true. As you read, smile broadly, Bring the smile into your eye muscles also. Keep it there. It doesn’t matter if it is fake or forced, do it anyway……….Hold it……..Now relax.

How do you feel?

Your brain, through Darwins facial feedback has recognized that you are smiling and boosted your endorphins (happy chemicals) and reduced your cortozol (stress chemicals). You feel better. It is the cheapest therapy available and as a Yoga teacher it is probably one of the easiest but most beneficial poses I could teach. I intend to bring smiling into my classes and will keep you updated.

Thich Nhat Hanh said “Sometimes the joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Force the smile. Grin and bear it.

Why shouldn’t we smile? For one thing we are alive. A quarter of a million people die every day. Sadhguru tells us, everytime we look at our watch and check the time we should be grateful we are alive as our lives are ticking away. If a quarter of a million people die every day then two or three million people loose a loved one every day. If this hasn’t happened today, then smile.

Research has shown that a smile can stimulate us as much as 2,000 bars of chocolate. It reduces stress and blood ressure, enhaces our good mood and according to Penn State University, allows us to be perceived by others as being more competent.

Mother Theresa once said, “I will never understand the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”

Smiles are free. If you don’t have change to give the homeless man outside Wholefoods or even if you don’t want to part with your hard earned cash, a smile is free and easy. It helps, it is contageious and there is a limitless supply.

So the next time you are in a bad mood or stuck in traffic or having a difficult day, fake it till you make it. Plaster a big fake smile on your face, getting right into the eye muscles and hold it as long as you can.

See what happens.

Let me know.



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