I try to smile… a lot…every day…for several reasons:
- I like smiling, it reminds me to be happy and to share that happiness
- I like being smiled at in return
- I think it makes my face look more youthful…I kid you not, go to a mirror smile…look….frown, looked bored or stern…look…smile…reevaluate. Don’t you look younger? More interesting? More like the REAL you?
- It alters my reactions….I take things less personally. I have the, “I grant you my happiness”, nobles-noblige outlook.
I’ve noticed that as I smile, I am content. I find myself dwelling on the blessings of my life. I have a job I love, students spanning the last 20 years who genuinely care about me and seek me out…a nice house, great health….good friends…
Sure, I could make a list as long as my arm about the stuff I don’t have or the things that have been done to me, the wrongs and slights I have endured, the loneliness of being single in a couples world, the pits of aging…on and on… ad nauseum….but why?
When you are truly happy, these negative things are sort of reminders to enjoy the good.
A smile and a kind word can change the day for others as well. Just greet a teen with a smile and a hug or high-5 and watch the difference in their eyes, in their body posture, and in the rest of their day.
SO- I was intrigued by a study done and recently released, that hypothesized that a sincere smile, named a Duchenne smile, reaching not just the lips but also involving the eyes, actually indicates the potential for a longer life. A Duchenne smile requires the raising of both cheeks, the corners of the mouth rising (demonstrating contraction of the zygomatic major muscle), and crow’s-feet wrinkles observed around the eyes. (SEE there is a GOOD reason to love those crow’s-feet!)
Keep that thought in mind when you are frustrated in snarled traffic, in a long line, on hold forever, with your child or your spouse…
In 2000 the Mayo Clinic released data from a 30 year study of optimists and pessimists, which found that pessimistic patients had a 19% increased risk of mortality over optimists.
On-going research shows that basic emotional conditions, such as happiness and sadness, generate differentially patterned autonomic responses, which then influence physical and mental well-being and longevity.
Emotions affect personalities and life outcomes by influencing how people think, behave, and interact with others. People with positive emotions are happier and have more stable personalities, more stable marriages, and better cognitive and interpersonal skills than those with negative emotions, throughout their life span.
So start smiling…really smiling, ‘cuz that half-hearted smile doesn’t really count. As that old adage states: Smile and the world smiles with you…and it will– for a longer time…
Be healthy, be safe, take your Women Vitamins and be blessed, Kersten
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