Monday, June 6, 2011

The Power of Smiling

The Power of Smiling

Smiling is a very powerful and effective way of addressing stress and a wonderful way to improve your health.  The next time you feel depressed try smiling.  You will be surprised how this simple but powerful action can change your mood.  It takes 17 muscles to smile compared to 43 muscles to frown.  You can test this concept right now.  Frown for ten seconds then smile for ten seconds - you will feel a difference.

Research has proven that people who smile often are healthier than people who do not smile often.  Studies show that smiling helps boost the immune system; it can also lower your blood pressure.  If you have a blood pressure monitor at home, take a reading.  Then smile for about five minutes and take another reading while still smiling.  You will see a difference.  The human body is programmed at birth to relax when the muscles form a smile.

When I give Ki Energy stress management treatments I often suggest smiling as a way to get the most out of the treatment because smiling will release endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin, three natural energies that will allow you to relax and feel good.  Smiling is also contagious.  If you smile at someone long enough they will smile back.  Which means the power of smiling can also allow you to help others become healthy as well.

While studying Kendo, the art of Japanese fencing, I learned that many samurai would often smile in combat, and not for the sinister reasons one might think.  They smiled to relax the body and stay focused.  The legendary Japanese actor Tomisaburo Wakayama often smiled in his samurai fighting films.  It is said that Miyamoto Musashi, one of Japan’s greatest samurai, often smiled in the heat of battle.  And Musashi never lost a duel.

Mantak Chia describes a wonderful exercise called the Inner Smile in his book Chi Nei Tsang.  According to Master Chia “The inner smile is a powerful relaxation technique that utilizes the expanding energy of happiness as a language to communicate with the internal organs of the body; because a genuine smile transmits loving energy that has the power to warm and heal’.  I teach the inner smile technique at the Harlem Ki Energy center’s Ki training classes every Wednesday evening.  For more information on the classes call 646 329-6727

Smiling is a very powerful tool that we all have, even babies who are born blind smile.  The best time to smile is when you feel unhappy or stressed. Use your God given tool to improve the quality of life, not only for you but for the people you interface with, especially the people you love.  Studies tell us that adults smile about 15 times a day while children smile about 400 times a day.  Which suggests that perhaps adults can have a less stressful life if they allow themselves time to remember what it is like to have a child’s mind.

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