The Magic of a Smile

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.

-Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

If you start to pay attention to magic, you will notice that it is all around you. What you give your attention to expands, so I’ve started to pay attention to the magic in my life. For instance, the powerful magic of a smile. Smiling is good for you, it’s good for others, it’s free, it’s easy, and it doesn’t take up time (you can do it while doing other things). When you smile there are chemicals released into your body that cause you to feel good. Also, you never know the effect it may have on someone else.

Immediately I think of homeless people on the streets. If I encounter a homeless person on the street and I don’t have cash to share with them, I often offer them a smile. There have been many times that they smile back and actually say, “thank you for the smile.” You never know how the gift of a smile may impact someones day.

I had a beautiful experience several years ago when I had a short layover at an airport. I was quickly walking from one gate to another, feeling light and in a pleasant mood, extending warm smiles to those people walking by that I would catch eyes with. Sometimes I would get a smile in return and sometimes not, the latter is a response that I have learned not to take personally. Just as I was in line to board my plane a woman and her daughter ran up to me and said, We only have a moment and have to catch a plane, but wanted to give this to you.  With those words and a smile they left me standing there with a card and a small stuffed animal.

In the card the woman wrote a kind note thanking me for smiling at her. She said that it really lifted her spirits and warmed her heart. She mentioned how crazy the world can get sometimes and how easy it is to get caught up in the madness of the rat race. She said that my gesture of a smile was what we needed more of in the world.

I felt so grateful, what a gift I had received. That short moment shared between souls, lifted her spirit and she was brave enough to let me know.

Smiling to one another can help us feel connected, a gentle, sweet reminder that we are not alone, a recognition of spirit.

literally means “bow me you” or “I bow to you.”

I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. I honor the place in you where, if you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.

– Ram Dass

I have received many comments through the years from people I’m passing by or service clerks at stores that I extend a smile too. A lady at the post office the other day said, “Hey, you’re the first to smile at me all day, thanks, you helped make my day better.”

You don’t even have to be in front of someone to witness the power of a smile. I learned while studying communications that there is power in smiling before you answer the phone or before you make a call. The person on the other line can feel the energy of it. Try it for yourself when talking with people on the phone or when you are leaving a voicemail message for someone. Try it when recording your outgoing voicemail message, listen to how different you sound without smiling before you speak then when you do smile.

Try smiling as part of your meditation practice. A soft smile can help soften the eyes, the heart and help you relax into a lovely practice. Smiling releases endorphins, that feel good chemical. I encourage you to return to that soft smile when frustration arises or other difficult emotions.

Just try smiling and see what happens. I heard that Paramhansa Yogananda suggested that if you don’t feel like smiling, to try this: “look at yourself in the mirror and use your fingers to literally lift your cheeks up.” With all that being said, if what you need to do is have a good cry, then cry. Crying is amazing, it helps us release pent up stress hormones and can create much calm. We are amazing creatures.

The world always looks brighter from behind a smile. – Unknown

A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.  – Charles Gordy

Find out how to help children with cleft lips smile at Smile Train.

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