Smiling—and laughing—are nature’s most healing beautifiers, as I always like to say.
But the notion also goes deeper than the felt sense of enjoying a wide smile. On the neurological level, smiling is a natural mood lifter, one that releases the potent neurotransmitters and endorphins that buoy happiness and strengthen health. When our facial muscles—especially those around the eyes—contract, as happens when we display a lovely wide grin, it signals the brain, and the act of smiling in itself causes the release of molecular messengers that guide us into relax mode. For our cells, that peaceful calm offers rejuvenation and repair. And researchers have learned that the more you smile, the happier and more calm you feel, even when you’re not smiling any longer. On the physiological level, the joyfulness clings and carries.
Beyond combating negative emotions, or relaxing the body, however, drawing the loving feeling of a bright smile—an “inner smile”—down into the body and towards the heart does wonders. Transporting the smile within, and experiencing the warm spread of loving energy, moves chi, the energy of our life force, removing obstacles and energetic blockages. It allows our whole being to absorb the warmth of love, both when the inner-smile is directed at ourselves or at others. It reconnects us with life, letting love in.
Some make a beautiful practice of waking up every morning with a smile. What a simple, pure path to holistic health.