Monday Musings Forty-two: The Curve that Sets Everything Straight

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The Curve that Sets Everything Straight


It’s so important to smile. What we do with our face has a direct effect on what our bodies do with us. The chemicals and emotions with which they fill us. A smile keeps all of that cocktail on the positive end of the scale. And that upward curve of the lips spreads joy rather than pain.

Briefly, toward the end of Monday Musings Twenty-six, we talked about the importance of having a deep belly laugh at least once a day, and how even the tiniest of smiles contains a universe full of magic. Truly, it holds transformative powers.

Not only does our expression reflect our mood, but our mood can change depending on what we do with our face. If we frown enough, then we’ll end up feeling grumpy. The same goes for smiling. If we curve our lips upward for long enough, then we’ll begin to feel better. And, for certain, those around us will feel happier for receiving a smile rather than a scowl.

Our facial expression reflects in our voice too. When we frown, we tend to sound stern. And when we smile, we sound happier and lighter. So, even on the telephone, where our face remains hidden, it’s important to smile when we speak—or, at least, refrain from frowning.

From a vanity perspective, a smile helps us grow older without deep frown lines. Rather, any skin creases we develop, grow upward and smoother instead and help us maintain a more youthful appearance. The reverse, of course, is that deep frown lines age us immeasurably. I know which I choose.Zen Stones for Monday Musings

To smile throughout the day, and thus avoiding anger and grumpiness in response to events, helps to lower our blood pressure and has all sorts of other health benefits. As stated in Monday Musings Twenty-six, a smile has the power to transform even the blackest of moods and make the world a brighter place. Just that little upward lift of facial muscles can change the whole energy of a room and the mood of those around us.

Think about a time when you’ve walked into a room and immediately wanted to walk back out because the atmosphere has felt so dark and tense. Think about the people that you enjoy being around … what kind of disposition do they have for the majority of the time?

Note that I qualify that last question with ‘the majority of the time’. I do this because not a one of us can remain bright and happy one-hundred percent of the day. We’re all human, and we all wobble now and then. The important thing is that we can reset to a happy medium rather than a grumpy one.

Each one of us has a baseline to which we return time and again. Lottery winners have described an initial feeling of euphoria and walking around on cloud nine. However, after enough time has passed, they each return to their normal baseline of functioning. The same happens when we experience deep despair or trauma. Eventually, we will return to our baseline.

The more we smile, the more our baseline becomes happy and positive rather than gloomy and negative. Like anything in life, it takes time and patient perseverance, but is so worth the effort.

A smile can hide so many other feelings like hurt, fear, and sadness, but it also shows strength. Each time you smile at someone, you give them an invaluable gift. Be someone else’s sunshine. Be the reason that they smile today. And in return, you will receive the sunshine back into yourself.

Always, a reason to smile exists, just that sometimes, you have to hunt for it.

In the wise words of Zen:

 ‘Let your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile.’

If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: :)