Peace begins with a smile. – Mother Theresa
I don’t know if any of you have heard this quote before, but it’s one of my favorites, and if you know me, I am all for the smile. Few people see me with any other expression because I’ve learned smiling makes me feel good.
For one thing, did you know it actually takes less energy and muscle control to smile than it does to make any other expression with your face? At this point in my life, I conserve all the energy I can, and if having a smile on my face most of the time will do that, I’m all for it.
Think about it. If people would just smile at each other, we could do so much good. A genuine smile projects trustworthiness. I’m not talking about a smile that only employs the mouth; I’m talking about a smile that lights up the eyes, too. When you smile, it signals to the receiver you’re not faking it. Usually, a genuine smile will receive one in return.
Have you ever been in a tense situation and just smiled at the fear? Almost magically, the situation simmers down. A smile doesn’t mean you’re giving into or compromising your opinion, it just means you’re willing to listen.
If you’re a person who wants longevity, learn to smile. A study of baseball players in 1952 proved those who smiled outlived their sour-puss counterparts by seven years.
Have you noticed how smiling many times leads to laughing? For me, laughing is life’s blood. If I can laugh everyday at myself or something else, it’s a good day. Medical studies have proven several minutes of laughter is physically good for you. I contend laughing is good for your soul, too, but so far, scientists haven’t figured out how to measure that. Most of them are not even sure we have a soul. Poor guys.
For me, laughing actually relieves pain and anxiety. When I broke my leg in a tobogganing accident when I was 14 years old, I kept the doctor laughing with a very successful one-woman stand-up routine. (Really, I was laying on an examining table, but I think you knew that.) He commented he never had set a tibia before for a patient with such a great sense of humor. All I know is, laughing about what happened was a lot easier than crying. I had plenty of time to feel sorry for myself in the weeks that followed because I lost the lead of the annual school musical, and I was marooned at home for four months because the break was so serious.
Nowadays, Ken and I find things to laugh about all day. His MS has presented so many difficult situations, but if we can make a joke out of what happens, we both feel better about the changes that take place. Most nights I even fall asleep smiling as I say thankful prayers that I got through another day in one piece.
So the next time the world has kicked you in the face, smile back. The pain won’t be so excruciating and maybe you’ll even find something to laugh about. At the very least, you’ll find peace. Saints don’t lie.