These are my “personal thoughts and observations” on SMILING.
What I’ve come across in my training and research is that SMILING has many wonderful health benefits. One of them is opening communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain! A smile naturally UPLIFTS and LIGHTENS not only the face, but the heart, soul, spirit, health, and demeanor of a person!
Before I became a Certified Laughter Leader, WLT; people would pass me and ORDER … SMILE! I would wonder why they were doing this? It instantly made me ‘irritable’, having the opposite effect of the intention of the sender. I would say, ‘What? This is my face, I’m just thinking, what’s wrong?” I have one of those ‘small mouths that naturally turns down’. I would say: ‘This is my God-given face, what’s wrong with it?’
Then, I figured: ‘Well, If they WANT me to walk around with a smile all the time, I will!’ So, whenever I passed someone, I would INSTANTLY put a frozen GRIN on my face, then close it. Some people started to say: ‘WHAT’S WRONG?’ ‘Gheesh! I thought. They’re never happy!’ Some people would say: ‘DO YOU HAVE GAS?’ I couldn’t win! Nothing seemed to make people happy with the look on my face!
So, once I learned more about the mental, spiritual, physical health benefits of smiling, I started an experiment! EVERYONE I met at work, or grocery shopping or at Stop Lights while waiting at a busy intersection got a close-mouthed smile from me. SOMETHING MAGICAL HAPPENED! I started to get automatic, mirrored smiles in return! “Wow! I thought! This is amazing!” I started to make a game of it. If I gave a close-mouthed smile and received an automatic one in return from whomever I was passing, I gave myself ONE POINT! Something MORE MAGICAL started to happen! I realized I not only got a REFLECTED smile back at me; but I would sometimes receive a verbal ‘Hi! or How Are You?’ “WOW! I once again thought, now I’m going to give myself TWO POINTS!
So, I started totalling my points whenever I went out anywhere. I started to notice something even MORE magical! Total strangers would be walking with their head down, look up, see my closed-mouth smile, and 1) Smile Back at Me 2) Say Hello, and ask how I was doing, 3) START TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH ME! Besides the previous three reactions, I would VISIBLY NOTICE 1) Their posture got taller, 2) Their face lit up, and 3) They were still smiling when they passed me!
I went from: Irritible, to Faking a Smile, to Experimenting and Playing a Game with Receiving a Smile to, seeing the VISIBLE WARMTH and ENLIGHTENMENT that was produced by acknowledging a person with a look and smile!
I started to get a warm, fuzzy feeling and couldn’t wait to go out and share smiles! I started to call this my: HA HA HELEN’S SMILE CAMPAIGN and posted it on my website! I made buttons that read: ‘I JOINED HA HA HELEN’S SMILE CAMPAIGN!’ I started to incorporate the observations and experiment in my: ‘Laughter? Let’s Get Serious!’ talks and programs!
I started to notice more and more, how our bodies NATURALLY use SMILING and LAUGHING as natural responses to:
HAPPINESS, EXCITEMENT, LEARNING, DISCOVERING, FEAR and HESITATION.
For example, watch a baby when it first smiles or giggles; they don’t understand language but they smile and giggle with EXCITEMENT at NEW things seen or NEW self-discoveries. I started to realize; if smiling opens communication between the left and right brain hemispheres, then this act of a baby must be helping the child to learn, about these new discoveries!
I met a young girl in a Sunday School class who talked to me about a fear of riding a roller coaster, but her friends were insisting. In relaying the story, she sucked in her breath to show me hesitation and fear; made a frozen grimmace or grin, released the sucked in breath, letting all the air out and released the frozen grin or grimmace. I WAS AMAZED as I OBSERVED this! The girl was using NATURAL body functions of DEEP BREATHING, pulling the mouth back and up to OPEN THE MIND AND RECEIVE and then RELEASE THE FEAR!
I started to realize another action when a person is entering a SCARY situation in a horror movie. I noticed they would walk low, stealthily and PULL THEIR MOUTH OPEN AND UPWARD in a FEAR / CAUTION produced GRIN or GRIMMACE! What was happening? I thought. Well, from what I’ve learned, they were in HIGHTENED reaction mode and they were INCREASING the communication between their left and right brain hemispheres with this action, to be READY TO RECEIVE THE INFORMATION and REACT!
Think about the Holiday story ‘The Grinch That Stole Christmas’. Did you notice whenever the Grinch had a clever idea; he PULLED THE CORNERS UP on his face into that GRINCH CLASSIC SMILE! How appropriate! Did you notice how Dr. Evil (Austin Powers), or Vincent Price would LAUGH DIABOLICALLY when they had an EVIL idea? Isn’t it interesting how laughing and smiling would apply to THE CREATION OF AN IDEA – in opening communication between the left and right brain hemispheres?
The health benefits of laughing and smiling are NEUTRAL when it comes to causing many physical, mental, emotional reactions in the body in order for us to develop an idea, deal with fear, deal with stress or express excitement and joy!
I invite you to continue your own research and continue your own observations with how smiling and laughing are used in your own, daily interactions. I invite my workshop attendees to prove me right or wrong by going out and SMILING to see what they observe. I am a natural, nervous laugher and use it to deal with life situations. I have become an AUTOMATIC SMILER.
I now use SMILING before I answer the phone or door. I use smiling to CAUSE me to PAUSE; so I don’t over react, and allow myself time to be OPEN and PROCESS what I am ABOUT TO RECEIVE.
Try it and let me know what you think or observe… you may like it and find it fascinating. Either way, join my smile campaign and see how many points you earn! It makes shopping and other chores go a lot faster; and brings in the FUN!
Speaker, Singer, Certified Laughter Wellness Program Facilitator, WLT
Welcome to the start of stress-free living, and learning how to get your daily dose of Inner Jogging! The purpose of LAFOLOT is to provide healthy & fun wellness, socialization and positive outlook tools to workplaces, schools, groups and senior centers through Motivational Speaking and Laughter Wellness Programs!