Cultivate Joy With This Simple Act

Jan 12, 2023

A couple of years ago, in the early months of the pandemic, I posted a video and wrote a blog post inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh's powerful statement: “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

Recently I felt I needed a reminder of this, so I thought I’d share my original post, slightly updated, with you now. Because we all need reminders of the simple but powerful ways we can find more joy in life.

There is so much science behind the power of smiling. When you smile, it creates an endorphin response in the body that helps you feel good. Even if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, a simple smile will shift your biochemistry. Wow - that's quite amazing if you stop to think about it!

It doesn't have to be a big fake grin. Just the slightest upturn of your lips and your body feels more relaxed, your mind more at ease. No special tools are needed, it’s free, and you can do this anytime, anywhere.

This is a big one for me because I'm someone who thinks a lot with my face. That's why I have concentration lines between my eyebrows! I've had friends come up to me and say, “Are you okay?” And I say, “Yeah, I'm fine - why are you asking?!.” “Oh, you just looked really worried.” “I'm just thinking!”

I spent the last few days experimenting with this in a focused way. Each time I start my qigong practice, rather than having sort of a neutral face, I take a slight smile. The same for meditation, driving, and walking down the street. Instead of having some other sort of expression on my face, I've consciously been smiling. And, I have to say, I have been feeling really good this week!

I share this with you because right now we all need all the tools that we can get. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed or worried or anxious or depressed, or all the various feelings state that can accompany being human, here's a free practice that has science behind it. It's easy to do, so please try it. And please let me know if this is helpful to you.

With a smile on my face,

Kirstin Lindquist
Licensed Acupuncturist

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