The Benefits of a Smile

“A smile is charity.” -Prophet Muhammad (saws)

(Bismillah irrahman irraheem.)

“A smile is charity” – such a seemingly simple statement – it only has four words – yet it holds such a powerful message that requires one to stop and reflect.  What does that mean, exactly, that a smile is charity?  Essentially, when we smile at others, we are bringing something positive into their lives – a smile of only a few seconds can have a long-lasting impact. 

Yet, just like with the Islamic concept of charity (bringing both benefit to the receiver but also a great deal of blessing to the giver), a smile brings benefit to both the receiver and to the ‘smiler’.  Even research today has confirmed the numerous benefits of smiling (http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongbeauty/tp/smiling.htm). 

First, smiling makes you attractive.  People are drawn to those who look pleasant and open, and repelled by those who are grim and frowning.  Thus, smiling attracts people to you. 

Further, smiling can change your mood.  It’s hard to feel grumpy when you have your face contorted into a smile – it takes a lot of effort to do that (in fact, many more muscles are used when smiling as opposed to frowning)!  Psychologically, our behaviors are tied into both our emotions and thoughts, so if we are physically doing something positive (smiling), inevitably our thoughts and feelings will follow suit and turn more positive.  Physically, smiling releases endorphins and seratonin, both of which cause positive, happy emotions.  So, the next time you are feeling down, try smiling – the most natural drug for curing depression!

Smiling has other positive health effects as well.  Our immune systems are boosted by smiling; it also reduces stress and high blood pressure.  Smiling seems to be a multi-purpose drug for ailments that afflict us all. 

Finally, smiling helps bring positive energy to another person’s day and helps to brighten their mood.  Think back to when you were having a bad day and someone smiled at you – how did that make you feel?  Undoubtedly, your mood lifted – at least for a moment – as a result of their act of charity.  No amount of words, no amount of money – nothing at all – can have the same effect as a genuine smile. 

All Muslims should follow the sage advice of the Prophet – smile.  Always strive to have a positive and cheerful demeanor.  Walking around with angry, judgmental faces will only push people away and create a negative environment. 

So the next time you’re out, trying smiling.  There are no negative side effects!  It’s rare to find something that practically everyone has the capacity to do that not only benefits you, but everyone around you as well!

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