When our youngest daughter and I were in Papua New Guinea last May/June, she told me about a study she had read concerning smiling and the many positive effects it can have on a person.
We all know from experience that smiling can transform the world around you. Doesn’t matter if you’re walking down the street, in a crowded elevator, or on the road. Smiling is contagious. I often watch my wife with little babies. She talks with them in this high, soft voice and has the hugest smile on her face. It’s as if she’s coaching that little baby in the art of smiling, wanting them to respond in like manner.
They say smiling makes us look more attractive. It lifts our mood and the mood of those around us. Studies also show it can lengthen our lives. So before you go any further – slap a smile on your face. You can thank me later.
Each time you smile you actually throw a little party in your brain. The act of smiling activates transmitters in your brain that relaxes your body, can slow down your heart rate and drop your blood pressure. Those same transmitters act as natural pain relievers, with no side effects. Probably the most important, when you smile serotonin is released which serves as an antidepressant. It’s all built right into your smile. How cool it that?
I hope I’m not boring you. Let me tell you a little bit more. When you smile you’re actually better looking (and I’m not blowing smoke at you!) When you smile, people treat you differently. The studies say you’re more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere.
I also read that there’s a part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expressions and when you see someone smiling, without even thinking about it, you automatically mimic their expression.
So why do I tell you all of this? Here’s what I read in the Bible this morning…
“Our God, make us strong again! Smile on us and save us.” Psalm 80:3; 7, 19 CEV
Did you see that? The writer of these words asked God to “smile on us.” And he doesn’t say it just once… he says it three times. Why? What did he know about the effects of a smile? And how much different, how powerful to think of God smiling on us. What effect would that have?
Here’s my word of encouragement for you today: Smile! Not just because you can, but because it’s good for you. Smile because it’s good for those around you. Smile because God is smiling on you and you can’t help but smile back. And then when people ask you what you’re smiling about just tell them it’s a natural reaction from God smiling on you!
Smile on us today. Fill our hearts, minds, soul, and spirit with your joy. And help us smile more, sharing it with those around us. In Jesus name, we ask this, Amen.
Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen