“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Prov. 17:22
Even thousands of years ago, God revealed to Solomon that a merry heart worked like a medicine. Surprise, surprise. God knew how the body worked because He made it! Turns out, as should be expected, lots of research has gone into this. I particularly want to point out one area of merriment – a SMILE. Here are some fascinating things from secular sources that I’ve discovered about smiling:
~ Smiling is universal. We all know this, but I still find it fascinating. God did decide to scatter people all over the earth and mix up the languages, however, he kept one important thing the same – a smile. No matter how confusing it may be to visit another country in which you do not speak the language, a smile is very easy to understand. We can thank the Lord for that.
~ There are 19 different types of smiles that are placed into 2 different categories. Polite social smiles and sincere felt smiles. Smiles can take anywhere from 5-53 facial muscles!
~ Smiling can boost your immune system and give you longer life! Someone actually did a study on yearbook pictures and even MLB baseball card photos. They determined that those who smiled, and even those who had wider smiles, lived years longer than those who did not! I find that incredibly fascinating!
~ Smiles are contagious! It’s super difficult to look at someone who is smiling and not feel your own muscles twitching and turning your frown upside down. When we look at other smiles, are own mimicking motions of their smiles help us determine if the smile was genuine or fake.
~ People who smile more often are seen as more successful and even smarter.
~ A big majority of people find smiles more beautifying than make-up.
~ Interestingly enough, kids smile wayyy more than adults. More than 30% of adults smile more than 20 times a day. Women typically smile more than men. However, kids smile an average of 400 times a day! Babies have even been seen smiling in the womb. It’s no wonder why we smile so much around sweet babies and smiling kids. Talk about medicine for our souls!
~ And finally, back to my original point, smiling acts like a medicine. “British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain activity as up to 2,000 chocolate bars” or even up to $25,000 cash. That’s one valuable smile!
I could go on and on about neat facts about smiling. Think of sitting in a church and watching a choir of people sing on stage. Do you translate the joy of their song by the looks on their faces? Haven’t we all seen people singing “Joy to the World” with the most somber faces ever? Maybe we have been one of them. How about walking into a church for the first time and being ignored or greeted with serious-faced people? Umm…check please. You find the nearest exit sign and long for the end of the service. Christians, we have EVERYTHING to be joyful about – but does it show on our faces? Is the joy of the Lord and His salvation spilling out of our souls and into our smiles? We have just read of the scientific research behind smiles, but we all have experienced that research first-hand. We are drawn to smiles.
You want to be a more effective Christian? Smile. You want visitors to feel welcome at your church? Smile. You want to keep your husband in love with you? Smile. Don’t let someone else’s smile draw him away from his frowning wife. You want to be someone that has a whole lot of friends? Smile. “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” (Prov. 18:24) – what better way to show friendliness than with a genuine smile? You want to be a parent who creates a joyful environment in your home? Don’t forget to smile!
The cares of this world and the stresses of our to-do lists and the weight of our responsibilities and the criticisms we receive and the burdens we carry for our loved ones can often erase our smiles. I fall victim to this so many times as well. Choose today to “fake it til’ you make it”! Don’t wait until you FEEL like smiling. CHOOSE to smile and make it a habit that carries you through life. A smile has the power to positively change your testimony, to radically change your marriage and your home, to effect your success in your careers, to attract more friends to you and to literally add years to your life. So what are you waiting for? Smile away!
I’m Jen McGee – Just a lady who is a child of God and greatly desires for Him to be at the center of my life. It’s a daily battle. My husband, Josh, is the pastor of First Baptist in Clute, Texas. I love serving the Lord with my husband. We have 5 amazing kiddos who keep us on our toes. We love them so much. I also have a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit and I love to write about things that are on my heart. If you would like to see more about our church, please visit: fbcclute.com.
Sources I used for the stats on smiling: