What Makes You Smile?
A smile warms the heart and lifts the spirits. Follow Carol as she shares her thoughts about the interesting phenomenon that is the human smile.
A Child’s Smile
What makes you smile? Years ago when I saw my youngest daughter’s Kindergarten school picture, my disappointment spilled over. I asked her, “Why do you look so unhappy in this picture?”
She said in her most serious five year old voice, “I left my smile at home that day.”
Forgot to Smile
Hopefully that little story gave you something to smile about as you listened or even allowed a small chuckle to escape.
Yet I think we all have those days when we feel like our smile forgot to join your face. It is hidden and a scowl, frown or tears takes its place.
Some of the puzzle pieces in our lives give us reason for tears. At other times anger may cause scowls or frowns of displeasure or perplexity. Life can be difficult. Adrienne C. Moore said it this way, “The truth is, we all face hardships of some kind, and you never know the struggles a person is going through. Behind ever smile, there’s a story of a personal struggle.”
What if we feel like there is nothing to smile about, nothing to be thankful for or no reason to laugh out loud? Proverbs 17:22 says in the King James “A merry heart does good like a medicine.” In the NIV that verse reads, “A cheerful heart is good medicine but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Sometimes our spirits feel crushed. We wonder where we can find some cheerfulness, some smiles or even dare we hope for a chuckle or two. Well even medicine tastes bad but it works or we hope it does and laughter and smiles are good medicine.
The NCI dictionary of cancer terms includes one for laughter therapy. It says, “It is a type of therapy that uses humor to help relieve pain and stress and improve a person’s sense of well-being.”
It is reported by psychologists and doctors that smiling and laughing works your abs, offers stress relief, improves cardiac health and triggers endorphins. That all sounds great but what if we just don’t feel like taking that medicine and plastering a smile on our face? I have learned over the years, through many experiences that some crazy thing will trigger a smile. Maybe we see something cute or read a funny comic or listen to the wisdom of a small child. Other times it might be someone trying to make you laugh since it is such good therapy.
A Chance to Smile
I want to share a story that hopefully will offer you a chance to smile or even laugh. It happened a number of years ago when I ended up in the hospital with a severe lung infection and asthma. Two weeks of outpatient treatment had not worked. Now the doctor prescribed nebulizers, oxygen when needed, expectorants to try and cough up the phlegm and then something to help rest the lungs in between as well as antibiotics, bed rest – with the head of the bed elevated and being monitored by the nursing staff of this small town hospital.
Round and round went the meds with bits of improvement but not enough to clear my lungs. The expectorant was not doing a very good job and tasted awful to boot. Over a week later I finally had some colour – other than gray to my skin. My lips remained a light blue for much of each day. Breath sounds in my lungs were still not what they should be.
A Quirky Sense of Humour
Then a lady I knew was admitted for a few tests. She had to be an inpatient for them so the medical staff could monitor her but she was not confined to bed. She would pop over to my room for a visit. Now she had a quirky sense of humor that seemed to bubble out of her no matter where she found herself.
The other bed in my room remained empty but soon became home to an imaginary patient with many woes and tales of need. She spun these tales until she had me laughing which produced wracking coughs and she would begin to feel bad about how hard I coughed. I assured her the laughter proved to be much better medicine than any expectorant they had tried to date.
Laughter and Lungs
This gave her permission to ramp up the stories of patient X or maybe she even had a name – it’s been too long since it happened for me to remember. The nurse popped in during one of these times where I laughed until I coughed and could hardly catch my breath. My visitor suppressed a huge grin for a moment or two and then asked the nurse to attend my poor woe-laden friend in the next bed. The nurse gave her a dubious look and exited the room. My friend doubled over in laughter which proved contagious. When she caught her breath she thought she might have to tone it down before the doctor added a psych exam to her list of tests.
This lady’s contagious laughter and her imaginary tales had me in stitches and coughs but it did take my mind off my pain, my frustration at not getting better and the need to continuously cough at least for a few moments each day. I learned how beneficial laughter can be as medicine without the awful after taste.
Sometimes I forget and need to ask myself what will make me smile. What makes you smile? Go ahead and pass it on.
Listen to Carol’s program Puzzle Pieces Of Life.
Carol Harrison B.Ed is a speaker and published author with one book, Amee’s Story and stories in twelve anthologies. She is passionate about helping people of all ages and ability levels find their voice and reach their fullest potential.
She knows, through personal experience that some of life’s experiences are tougher than others. She encourages people that even in the twists and turns of life God’s amazing grace provides hope. She lives in Saskatoon, SK with her husband Brian. They have four adult children and a dozen grandchildren.
Visit Carol’s website carolscorner.ca
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