My friend Barbie Dodson is the picture of sunshine. But if you truly got to know her, you’d discover that she consciously and intentionally decides to live that way.
She shared some of her philosophy with me and I wanted to share it with others.
Smiling: A Recipe for Happiness
I believe that a smile can improve mood, reduce anxiety and create happiness. I personally experience psychological healing from smiling, especially when my smiles are returned. There are times I feel like the best actress in the world because I smile on the outside while I’m screaming on the inside. When I force a smile while encountering people, I suddenly don’t feel like screaming anymore and seeing an infectious grin gives me immediate joy.
I have learned that keeping a smile on your face is the best medicine for a sour mood. In Psychology Today, Adrian Furnham, Ph.D. wrote, “There is also physiological evidence that smiling has specific biological consequence. This is even truer of laughter and is evidence of a feedback loop. Smiling has hormonal and physiological consequences which make us feel better and want to smile more. Smiling self-medicates and heals.”
For example, I can estimate the significance of an illness just by checking to see if I can smile. If it’s easy to smile, I know I’ll be back singing a new tune in no time. If it’s nearly impossible, I would be best served to get back in bed. Smiling is not always easy especially in this world of stress and worry. It is the times that you can’t imagine smiling when it will have the greatest effect.
When Smiling Overcomes Anxiety
Anxiety can dominate my mind when it is least expected and can be debilitating. It frequently appears while I’m attending church where there are countless people to greet. Before arriving at the meetinghouse, I work to convince myself that if I smile at everyone I see, I will feel less apprehensive.
As I encounter one of the many people in my path, I quickly fight for control over this unwanted, yet relentless opponent. Then, as I feel the corners of my mouth turn upwards into a smile and their eyes brighten, the words, “I did it!” echo in my mind. The smile is a force to be reckoned with.
In the end, I come away with the sense that I have completely changed from the time I arrived. The anxiety is gone and from the smiles I receive in return, I believe I have enriched other’s spirits in the process.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.