Weekend: Mental Health Moment

By KATHY FOUST
A smile is the universal language which speaks love from the heart.
A smile is a gift of love for our self and others. Mother Theresa believed peace begins with a smile. A sincere smile shines from the soul, making the world a better place.
Joseph Addison said, “What sunshine is to flowers, a smile is to humanity.”
It takes 26 muscles to smile and 62 muscles to frown. The facial muscles used to express emotion trigger specific brain chemicals. Smiling signals happy healing hormones to be released. A frown suppresses our immune system and increases the release of stress hormones.
We have an inner and outer smile. Sometimes we have an outer-smile but don’t really feel happy or content on the inside. That type of smile is polite, but not completely genuine or sincere.
What’s interesting is even though we may not feel like smiling, the brain can be tricked into releasing a happy hormone when we use the muscles to smile. Since smiling is contagious, the smile we get back from another person also helps us to feel happier.
The hardest thing is to smile when we are ill or in emotional pain. It does not cost us anything to smile, and it is a necessary first step to feeling better.
When under stress or pain, close your eyes, take a deep breath and remove yourself from the painful situation.
Talk to God, think of a happy time, a funny movie or a joke. Let yourself have an outer smile and then an inner smile as the pain lessens.
The following are some benefits of smiling.
• An inner smile becomes a positive mental attitude and tells us everything is going to be OK.
• Lowers blood pressure immediately.
• Boosts the immune system.
• Releases endorphins and serotonin (happy hormones).
• Lessens stress.
• Increases the ability to solve problems,
• Lifts the moods of others.
• Can have the same effect as eating chocolate.
•The more we smile, the more we want to smile.
It is important to take care of yourself emotionally. Living with an inner smile is to live in harmony with yourself and God.
When life happens and things get difficult, remember you can still have your inner smile and know it’s going to be OK. If you are not able to find your inner-smile, talk to a friend, pastor or counselor.
Foust is owner of Lighthouse Counseling Services, Findlay, and is a licensed professional clinical counselor. If you have a mental health question, please write to: Mental Health Moment, The Courier, P.O. Box 609, Findlay, OH 45839.



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