The Spirituality of Smiling

I’ve been pondering the significance of smiling for a long time now. Even as a kid, people used to say to me that I was very ‘smiley’ – mostly it was said as a good thing but not always. In adulthood also, it is something people comment on about me, that they notice that I smile a lot. And I’m ok with that. In essence it’s true, I’m essentially a happy person and I tend to smile. A lot.

And I thought that was the be all and end all of it! That smiley people smile and others don’t.

But now I think there is something much more significant going on.

In doing a little research for this week’s blog, I discovered that there is quite a bit of research out there that is logging the benefits of smiling. It is seen to enhance just about everything. Check out this list:

😊 Smiling boosts your mood

😊 Smiling is contagious and helps you connect with others

😊 Smiling makes you look more attractive to others & enhances your relationships

😊 Smiling has positive physical health benefits including e.g., lowering stress levels, boosting your immune system, relieving pain (thank you endorphins!), lowering blood pressure

😊 Smiling relieves anxiety

😊 Smiling is related to longer life span

And in the Buddhist tradition in particular, there is encouragement to embrace smiling. Thich Nhat Hanh said “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy”. The Dalai Lama speaks about how a smile can be the beginning of forgiveness: “A simple smile. That’s the start of opening your heart and being compassionate to others”. And in a world where there is so much pain, division and war at the moment, Mother Teresa’s take on a smile can give us heart: “Peace begins with a smile”.

Smiling therefore is a very powerful action!

It’s important here that the smile is genuine. It’s not about putting a stickie plaster over pain or pretending that you’re ok when you’re not. 

But when we can allow a smile to bubble up, when it can be a spontaneous response to seeing someone or some beauty in nature or a random act of kindness, when it is a response to a positive thought you’re having internally, smiling is powerful.

And finally, I want to share one other thought about smiling that is actually the thought in me that prompted this whole blog. I teach my clients an exercise, called the Mastery Activation Process. It is a process for identifying what action you can take to propel you towards your dreams and goals realised. We work on it at our Vision Workshops and in our coaching together.

It is an exercise for tuning into the intuitive side of your nature to identify possible next steps. Typically we generate quite a list of possible actions. The trick then is to discern between them! From a list of perhaps 20 possible actions, how do you know which one to focus on?

Photo by Yuyang Liu on Unsplash

One of the best ways I’ve identified to discern what is the best action to take is to pick the one that makes you smile!

I’ve come to the conclusion that Spirit speaks to us through what makes us smile! Anything that makes you smile is for you. As you contemplate that action and smile, it causes you to feel more expansive and, bringing joy, it causes your vibrations to rise. You want to follow through and take action on those ideas.

As you are progressing through life, prioritising what makes you smile, you will automatically be doing things that feel authentic to you, you will raise your vibration and attract more goodness.

Not only is there power in your smile in terms of your physical and mental wellbeing, I believe that your smile is Spirit-given and guiding you towards all that serves you.

Now isn’t that something to smile about?!