You may think that a smile is overrated, but I have witnessed just the opposite.
I have just lived through Hurricane Ian.
The devastation I have seen because of this horrific natural disaster is pretty significant.
But I’ve also witnessed so much good.
I have seen people who have lost everything face each day with a smile on their faces.
People I see smiling seem genuinely happy, and they are more resilient in the circumstances they find themselves in.
It’s their smile that’s carrying people through the hard days.
It reminds me of these lyrics from Nat King Cole’s song, Smile.
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile, and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
Time and time again over the past several weeks, I have seen people put this simple advice into action.
The invitation to smile is more than just good advice.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that smiling can trick your brain into being happy, even when life is hard?
Just the act of smiling can reduce your stress level and lower your heart rate in tense situations—even if it’s forced.
Your brain can’t tell the difference between an actual smile and one that’s forced, so the term “fake it till you make it” actually works.
Smiling also boosts your immune system, releases serotonin and dopamine in the brain, and actually makes you happier.
Why am I telling you this?
The world is in chaos right now.
War, inflation, food shortages, falling stocks, housing costs, pandemics, and natural disasters seem to be the norm in today’s world. It can be rough and often unsettling.
But we can still choose happiness. And according to science, that happiness can be created with a simple smile.
If you want to overcome any anxiety or fear you may have for the future, the best way to do that is to force yourself to smile—even when you’d rather not.
Now, I’m not saying that we need to ignore what’s going on in the world. What I am saying is that the more we learn to smile, the happier we’ll be, despite what’s going on in the world.
Here are five ways you can smile more each day.
Keep a Happiness Journal.
Take the time to make a list of the things that make you happy. You can add items to it daily.
When you are struggling to find something to smile about, go back and read your journal.
Focus on those things that make you happy and allow yourself to smile about them.
Just moving your smiling muscles will send the signal to your brain to release endorphins, which will increase your level of happiness.
Get several colorful Post-It-Notes and write on each one something that makes you happy.
Put those notes around your house, car, and office to help remind you of the things that make you smile.
When you read them, take the cue to put a big smile on your face and move forward in your day with a happier state of mind.
Find something to laugh about.
Finding things that make you laugh is a great way to get those smiling muscles moving.
Watch a comedy on television, go out and laugh with friends, play a fun game with your family, or go to a comedy club.
Laughter really is the best medicine because it forces you to use those smiling muscles, which, in turn, sends those positive signals to your brain.
Just like smiling, laughter can release endorphins, alleviate stress, boost your mood, relieve anxiety, strengthen your immune system, and reduce blood pressure.
Plus, it’s an all-around great way to keep a smile on your face.
Practice smiling at others.
No matter who you are, you are going to run into other people. Make it a habit to practice smiling at the people you meet each day.
Not only will smiling at others increase your own endorphins and help you to have a happier day, but it will also help those who smile back at you have a happier day as well.
Smiling is contagious. The more you practice smiling at people you meet, the more happiness you will spread to others. As they smile back, their smiling muscles will release endorphins for them.
You will be spreading happiness with a simple smile.
If you want to change the world, smiling at others is a great place to start.
Force a smile if you have to.
Even a fake smile can increase your overall feelings of happiness.
Sometimes, you may not feel like smiling. Those are the times you need it the most. So fake it if you have to.
The more you get into the habit of smiling, the more it will come naturally.
This will greatly improve your health, impact your outlook in a more positive way, and help you create a happier life for yourself.
Life may be crazy, but we can still find happiness in this crazy world. Our happiness is dependent on how we approach life and the world around us.
If you want a happier life, start each day with a smile.
That simple smile will make all the difference.