C'mon, Give Me a Smile!

September 4, 2015

This picture is of my sister, Kim, in a little shop on the island of Rhodes in Greece. She’s surrounded by lights, but it’s her smile that shines brightest in the room. I love her smile. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of Kim. Her laughter is even better. She often tries to tell a funny story, but she’s giggling so hard she can’t get out the words in a complete sentence. Everyone around will start laughing, not having any idea what the story is about, just because her laughter is so contagious that we can’t help ourselves. What a great gift! Thank you, Kim.

“People who laugh actually live longer than those who don’t laugh.”
~Dr. James Walsh of Fordham University

There’s actually science to prove that our smile starts a little happy party in the brain. Smiling activates neural messaging that will benefit your health and your level of happiness. Doesn’t a good belly laugh feel like you’ve just done a set of crunches?

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
(….or someone else’s joy)

Whether I’m passing through an airport or walking in my neighborhood, I make a point of looking directly at people I pass and give them a smile. I often see a hint of surprise in their eyes, then a nice big grin in return. I have an image of an older woman sitting in the Istanbul Airport last month. She was people watching and looking rather somber. When her eyes met mine, I smiled and her face instantly lit up. Apparently something happens in our brains that makes smiling back an automatic reaction. Just the act of smiling releases feel-good chemicals in our brain (dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin)! Research also says a smile relaxes your body, might lower your heart rate and blood pressure and, well, it’s just looks so darned good on you.

Years ago I read something from an expert on good telephone manners and practices. She recommended smiling when you’re talking on the phone. I do and I think people might be smiling back at me! As I’m writing, sitting here all by myself, I’m smiling. Can you feel it?

In my mind I can hear my Scottish grandfather, Bill, saying “Gee us a wee smile, Hen” (Give us a little smile young lady) You got it, Granddad!

Every smile is beautiful; pearly whites or toothless grins. The light shines right through your eyes!

In a little town in Denmark this Summer the sweet guide finished our walking tour by asking everyone to join her in song before we parted. She began singing “This Little Light of Mine.” Everyone knew the children’s song and gleefully joined in. Then we all cheerfully returned to our ship. I recorded it on my phone. Hit play if you’d like to hear a little dose of happiness.

It’s Labor Day Weekend and a lot of us will have 3 days off. That’s a great reason to smile.

Go ahead. Smile. I dare you! Let your little light shine. Now don’t you just feel better already?
I think the whole world looks brighter when we smile. Send me a picture of your sweet smile; hope@inkelliesworld.com!

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine,