The Power of a Smile

A few years ago, I remember commuting to an event in San Francisco on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).   I remember sitting on the train and observing so many people glued to their electronic devices.   Heads down, face without a smile, as I thought to myself this is the new norm.   I was honestly saddened to experience this feeling of disconnect.   Not that I was wanting to have a deep conversation with all the people on the train, but just an opportunity to look up be met with a smile and the opportunity to return that smile. 

A Smile Helps All Involved

I have witnessed first-hand what a smile does when both given and received.  It’s an instant release of the neurotransmitter dopamine and that one makes us feel great.  Research shows that it changes our body physiology.

Dopamine is the feel-good neurotransmitter, made in the brain, it’s involved in the reward and reinforcement aspect.  It is responsible for transmitting signals between the nerve cells of the brain. As with everything else in the body, balanced amounts are key.  Too much or too little alters the delicate balance. By simply putting a smile on your face with an intention behind can transform your day and the recipients.  

Words of Wisdom

Some words of wisdom from the Buddhist monk Thich Nat Hahn puts everything into perspective. He reminds us:

 “When you realize you’re irritated, half-smile at once. Inhale and exhale quietly, maintaining the half smile for three breaths.” 

 And even some more smile wisdom from Swami Satchidananda:

 “We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy.”

And finally, we can take the liberty to add to Dory’s comment from Finding Nemo, advising us to “just keep swimming” we can add “just keep smiling.”  

This blog was created by Jane McIntosh, E-RYT 500 continues to pursue education in yoga and the healing arts for a deep understanding of therapeutics. Her classes are a mixture of her various training on breath and alignment principles. A balance of vigor, restoration, and renewal. Jane loves teaching to every level helping to facilitate her strong belief that yoga is truly for everybody and every body type.  She is currently a lead instructor at LeadingYoga.com teaching online yoga classes and yoga teacher training certification coursework.

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