A Smile – It Can Heal Us

by johnandterri

Mom at our Wedding“Smile and the whole world smiles with you.” 

I love these lyrics from the song, “When Your Smiling”. Terri and I play this song with our grandchildren frequently when we are taking care of them. It reminds me of how powerful a smile can be. It is a gift of love we give to each other. I am talking about the genuine type of smile that involves the eyes. My mom had a most amazing smile and the photo at the top of this blog article is of her on my wedding day. Even as my mom aged and ended up in a full time memory care facility (she had Alzeheimer’s disease), she never lost her amazing smile. She could light up a room with it.

There are times, obviously where smiling and being cheerful is a lot easier then other times but research done on those that smile and are cheerful shows they are a healthier bunch of folks. It can aid or boost our immune system and lower our blood pressure as well as relieve stress and lower pain level. In fact, you can fool your brain by smiling (genuine smiles, of course) more often. Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure inducer, cannot match. Smiling helps generate more positive emotions within you. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more. On average, they do so 400 times a day! The average person though only smiles 20 times a day.

During our long walk across Spain, the daily aches and pains and the long hot days were not smile producing moments for us much of the time. Once our long day of walking was over though we made up for it with lots of smiling as we pulled off our boots and socks and got a chance to rest and have a nice meal and some fellowship time with our fellow pilgrims! Life can get us all down at times, that is for sure but there is some real science to keep smiling.

The other thing to remember about smiling is that it is contagious. Remember when you “smile the whole world smiles with you”.

I will leave this blog with a quote from St Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa):

“Every smile is an act of love, a gift to someone, let us always greet each other with a smile, for it is the beginning of love.”

Blessings and all good,

John

Photograph of the Week

Balsam Root Dreaming

This image is a composite of two images. During a hike up Chiwaukum Creek, I photographed a beautiful textured rock that I knew I wanted to use in a composite image. The Balsam Root flower that was on this hike proved to be the perfect blending image.