The healing power of your smile

submitted by Susan B. Apollon, Psychologist, Author,

Imagine going outdoors for a walk, lost in thought about problems or deeply missing someone or something dear you have lost. Suddenly you see someone who you do not know approach you, who gives you the warmest smile before disappearing.

You smile back, hoping they caught you returning your gift to them.

Those smiles, both given and returned, have become meaningful to every one of your cells, supporting you or lifting you up to a feel-better place and mood.

In fact, you are more likely to be the one smiling first at the next approaching stranger – because it feels better to smile than not. Your choice to smile enables you to feel happiness so much that you may find it difficult not to smile.

How does a smile heal?

Your body is aware of the energetic vibrations associated with your smile and rewards you with the release of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and endorphins (including serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin) that contribute to strengthening your feel-good mood – which, in turn, fosters a healthier working immune system.

Psychologists have researched the impact of a smile and learned what may be obvious – those who smile are perceived as more attractive, and people are more drawn to those who smile than those who don’t.

The chemical release of endorphins each time you smile enables you to feel more joy. Your smile empowers you, helping you to feel greater confidence.

The awareness of physical pain is diminished each time you smile, especially when focusing on comedies and heartwarming photos, or recalling touching memories of your children, pets, passion, favorite vacations and holidays.

Individuals who are severely depressed and considering suicide have shared it was the smile from a stranger that saved their lives. That smile validated their existence and made them feel they had value, purpose and a right to be here.

Your quality of life is enhanced each time you smile. Upon awakening, look into the mirror, smile wide and say: I intend to have a beautiful, wonderful day!

Your smile will help restore both you and others to a sense of peace, harmony and balance. Now that is worth smiling about!