Have you ever had this happen to you?

For some unknown reason, a friend comes to mind and you suddenly picture them as they were, the last time you saw them. Depending on the current state of your relationship, you are filled with either a pleasant emotion or one of dread, confusion and anxiety.

Physiologically, that emotion translates into a warm sensation in your body or a frigid chill up your spine. Does this sound familiar? I tell you this to illustrate a point.

I have a friend by the name of Janet. She is one of those people who always wears a genuine smile, so naturally, when I think of her I automatically smile right back, even though she is not there and I may be alone in a room. Yet, just the thought of this person makes me smile and fills me with feelings of happiness. It’s true, smiling is contagious.

Smiling does many other wonderful things for your body besides feeling good and releasing stress. Research shows that smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that allow the neurons to communicate. Dopamine and serotonin, often referred to as the “feel good” neurotransmitters are released with the magic of your smile. In addition, smiling relaxes the body and can help lower heart rate and blood pressure.

For me, the most meaningful incentive to smile is to give those around me that same emotional lift, just the way the thought of a friend’s smile gives me a boost. I’d like to make the world a happier place just by way of a smile.

You can pick and choose how the power of your smile will affect you and others, whether it is simply to release stress or a step to better health.

Whatever the reason, be sure to put a smile at the top of your “to do list” today! I’ll leave you with lyrics from two of my favorite Perry Como songs…

“Let a smile be your umbrella, on a rainy day!”
“Keep on smiling, cause when you’re smiling the whole world smiles with you.”

Mary Ann Wilson

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