Gilland: A smile goes a long way

Smile of woman with white teeth

We would probably all agree that our country is in a season right now that, to say the least, is a bit tense. And with that tension comes moods and attitudes that can affect the way we feel, the way we look and also the way we behave. Today, I want to pause and encourage you, our readers, to consider the value of a smile.

There is actually a lot of science out there on that vast, worldwide web called the Internet. Though the actual amount varies depending on the article you read, it takes at least four muscles to form a smile, but surprisingly, a frown will force the use of anywhere from 40 to 64 muscles! Said differently, and from a physical standpoint, we work a lot harder when we frown.

If we measured muscle usage like we do gas mileage, we get many more “smiles per gallon” than we do with frowns, and those smiles have a lot more to do with our outlook on life than we can imagine.

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Resorting one more time to that “trusted source of information,” the Internet, people around you are impacted when they greet someone who is smiling. In fact, a smile is quite contagious, often causing the people we greet to smile in return. It is simply more fun to greet someone who appears happy or jovial than one who appears sad, angry or grumpy. Those downward looks can actually cause others to veer out of your path, choosing to avoid even a casual confrontation with your sour look.

What does the Bible say about this? Well, while we won’t find the kinds of numbers or statistics that can be found on the web, you will find this subject in God’s Word. We read in Proverbs 15:13 this verse:

“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.” (Prov. 15:13 ESV)

And one of my favorites that speaks regarding our countenance is from Psalms 43:5:

“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Ps. 43:5 ESV)

No doubt about it, we need glad hearts to avoid the frowns. And the best way to become settled and joyful in our own lives is taking that advice—HOPE in God. Put your trust in Him, ask Him for His help. And when you do, those smiles will soon come as you sense His peace and help in your current situation. 

I hope you do just that and find the peace that is available even in the midst of whatever storm you are facing. And, just think about this, you’ll be expending a lot less facial energy in the process!

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