"A happy heart makes the face cheerful." - Proverbs 15:13 "A cheerful heart is good medicine." - Proverbs 17:22


Spiritual Wellness

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful." - Proverbs 15:13

"A cheerful heart is good medicine." - Proverbs 17:22

As expressed in the encouraging Bible quotes above, there is nothing quite like the power of a genuine smile to put that extra little spring in your step. Putting on a smile changes the way that others see you and react to you, and can go a long way to changing your day for the better. Smile more and you might find that you encounter less "jerks" and more people who help brighten your day.

It's true that everyone has great friends and beloved relatives who almost never smile, and who we love and treat kindly. In closer and more meaningful relationships there are, of course, deeper things that make us like each other than simply how often we smile. But for everyday encounters on the street, in the store, on the bus, and in various other public places, a little smile can do a lot for how you are perceived by others. It can make you seem more open, more friendly, and a lot less confrontational.

It is not necessary to slap on a fake, goofy grin every time you walk down the street. Neither should you constantly be trying to force yourself to be "happy." The only thing to keep in mind is to smile during your interactions with others. Smile at the waitress, the cashier, the bus driver, or the person walking down the street. Smile at your friends and family when having a conversation. The more genuine your smiles are, the better.

The great thing is that by simply remembering to smile at others you will find that you likely will not have to fake genuineness at all. If others perceive you as being friendly and in a good mood, then they will react likewise. You will find that you are having more positive interactions and interesting conversations. One little smile can start a feedback loop. It can cause someone to smile back to you, putting you in an even better mood.

Christians are called to be in good cheer and to set their attention on the bright side of life. It's true that life is not always rosy and fun, and that we sometimes experience moments of stress, sadness, and pain. However, learning to focus on the good and always looking for reasons to smile can help make these moments more bearable until they pass.

Paul the Apostle extolled early Christians, who experienced many hardships and hurdles, to always look on the bright side. "Finally, brothers and sisters," Paul writes in Philippians 4:8, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." If this advice was good enough for the early Christians who faced persecution for their beliefs, then it is certainly good enough for the Christians of today. Set your mind on the things that make you smile, and you will invite even more reasons to smile into your life.