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The healing power of a smile

“The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.”—Dale Carnegie

The human smile has been a source of wonder and mystery for ages.  We are still fascinated by the smile – or the suggestion of a smile – on Mona Lisa’s face.

A lot of studies have been done about the usefulness and benefits of smiling. It has been shown that it can make us more socially attractive, for instance. It may be able to help us be more successful in business. A 1978 study found that smiling waitresses made more in tips than those who were merely concerned with getting the job done. A study published in Psychological Science found that when we are feeling flustered or stressed, even a forced smile will likely decrease our stress and make us happier.

Quite by chance, I made an interesting discovery myself recently about smiling. As I say, I hadn’t set out to discover anything or prove anything. But one evening, sitting quietly in my chair, I found myself simply closing my eyes and beginning to smile.

What a remarkable experience it was. As I continued smiling with my eyes closed, I realized I was becoming more relaxed. I could feel tension draining away from my face and body. I suffer from dry eye, and doing a little gentle smiling in this manner seems to help my aging eyes produce as few new tears.

But something else happens as I sit quietly in the evening, eyes closed and a gentle smile on my face. I remember that I am not a mere mortal. I remember the beautiful truth so eloquently conveyed in William Wordsworth’s poem, ‘Ode to Immortality’: “Not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home.”

I send my love and blessings to all. Life is hard, without a doubt. But though our bodies grow old, our spirit is ageless – and there is only joy and quiet peacefulness on its smiling face.

PS: Shining a light on the “hidden blessings” hiding in plain sight in our lives is really the intent – or the benefit — of my new book, The Secret Promise of Aging.  I’m very thankful to a blogging friend, Angela Artemis, author of The Intuition Principle, for suggesting this idea to me.  I would be very grateful for any help you could give me in spreading the word about my new book, by the way. It’s available at Amazon in print and Kindle editions.

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