What’s the science behind a smile?Britishcouncil.org says when our brains feel happy, endorphins are produced and neuronal signals are transmitted to our facial muscles to trigger a smile. Wikipedia says a smile is formed primarily by flexing muscles at the sides of the mouth. It takes around 42 muscles to do this.
For humans, smiling expresses happiness, pleasure, and joy.
Across cultures, a smile is a means of communication.
As Christians, we should be joyful. We have a hope to live eternally with Christ, and for this, we should be smiling 24/7.
But……. life happens…..and at times, it is difficult to smile. Sometimes there are struggles inside of us and putting on a smile is hard. The Bible says, “The Joy of the Lord is our strength.” Do we believe this???? The truth is that HE is our source!
At the Hope House, when the new year begins near the end of August, the girls arrive, and many of them aren’t smiling. They are sad to say goodbye to mom or dad, brothers and sisters, or grandma. They know that for weeks or months, they won’t be seeing family.
Even those that are leaving horrible situations, that connection of a loved one will be missed. So, there are tears and some lonely days. The smiles aren’t there for a while. BUT...
My experience in my almost 9 years in Ecuador at the Hope House, is that after a month or so, they are finally feeling like they are in their “home.” There is security and a love that they feel. They are getting to know their new sisters and “aunties” and there is a sense of belonging.
The smiles are there now. I see it when they are singing in church, dancing in the house, laughing at a movie, or playing games.
They are learning that “joy comes from the Lord.” The Hope House is a family and we do draw strength from one another; when one is happy, we rejoice, and when one is sad, we are there to lift them up and help put a smile on their face.
One more amazing fact discovered in the article by the British Council, was that the happiness level that a smile can bring to our brains is estimated as equivalent to that of having 2,000 bars of chocolate. How incredible is that!!!!
My goal in the new year is to “share more smiles” especially when I am with these precious girls.
Li, Ding. “What's the Science behind a Smile?” British Council, British Council, 2 Apr.
“Smile.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 6 Feb. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smile.