Smile wrinkles: Spread the joy

By Al Earley - A Religious Point of View

I was in a store I often go to when one of the clerks, someone I’ve never met, approaches me and says, “I love it when you come into the store. You are always smiling.” What an amazing compliment. I had never really thought about being a smiling person before. I do know I love to laugh, and one of my heroes during my years in ministry was Ruby. I teased her that she had smile wrinkles. She always smiled so much all of her life that her face just smiled naturally in her advanced years. I wanted to be just like her so that my wrinkles would smile.

In Proverbs 15:13 we read, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” Again in Proverbs 15:30, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” In fact, there are so many scriptures about laughter, joy, and happiness that if it isn’t every Christian’s desire to have smile wrinkles they are missing one of the great blessings of faith.

Too many Christians go around with sad faces, frowns, or just blank looks, when all around them God is doing amazing, miraculous things. Jesus spoke often about having enough faith to have eyes to see and ears to hear what God is doing around us. If you are excited about your faith I invite to ask your heart to send a message to your face to smile.

There are many good reasons to smile. Studies show that even if we are in a bad mood, if we force ourselves to smile it can make us feel better. I remember when a family member died a tragic death my wife and I wanted to be surrounded by our kids. They have a great sense of humor, and we cried and laughed together. Laughter makes the crying a whole lot more meaningful.

Proverbs 15:30 (quoted above) tells us that good news brings health to the bones. That is not just a wise sounding statement, it is scientifically proven that smiling contributes to good health and a stronger immune system. Norman Cousins popularized the healing power of laughter back in the 1970’s, and today laughter therapy is well documented.

Have you ever noticed how contagious smiles are? I challenge you to make a point of choosing three people and deliberately smile at them. Then consciously notice what happens. More often than not they will at least smile back. Another fun challenge is when you are in a room full of people just start smiling at everyone. Yes, many may think you are odd, but they will get a laugh out of it. More people need to laugh. I encourage you to test how contagious smiling is.

Smiles can also help you get promoted. That is not the reason to smile more, but take note that people appear more attractive, sociable, and confident the more they smile. Do you know anyone that isn’t more attractive when they are smiling rather than frowning?

There are a lot of wonderful facts about smiling. I don’t know why this one has always intrigued me, but smiling is easier than frowning. Scientists have discovered that we have to work harder and use more muscles to frown than it does to smile. And from the information above, there are not any of the health bonuses associated with smiling when we frown. So we basically work harder to do something that isn’t really good for us. That is a good reason to smile a lot more.

Do you think you are developing smile wrinkles as you live day to day? Does your faith in Jesus Christ have a visible effect on how often you smile? What can you do to help you smile more each day? There are lots of things we can do to help us smile more. Go find a bunch of them and do all of them every day.

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By Al Earley

A Religious Point of View

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