Why is Smiling so Important for our Health?

The Inner Smile meditation has become my favorite Qi Gong practice lately. It teaches me to feel so much gratitude for my body for how well it has taken care of me over the years. This meditation has also helped me to smile and laugh more each day. I appreciate that transformation.

There was a saying I often heard in Church when I was young girl: Love thy neighbor as thy self. I never could understand this idea… I knew what I was thinking and feeling and it was not always positive, so how could I love myself? Would I love someone else who had the same thoughts or feelings I did? I did not know what was going on inside of others, so I could love them more easily.

Now that I am older and wiser, I realize there is not much difference between each of us of what we are thinking and feeling. We all have negative thoughts and emotions. These are not the kind where we want to hurt anyone or blow up the world, but the everyday variety: I am mad. . .  why did they do that . . .  how could I be so stupid . . . I am not good enough…

The Inner Smile has helped  with my transformation by allowing me to appreciate my body… Recently  I co-taught a Qi Gong workshop and in putting together the booklet, I had to have photos of myself showing the movements I was teaching. I was amazed how comfortable I was about that, because I know in the past, that would have been an issue. The Inner Smile has brought me to feel comfortable with my body. Rather than how I look, it is much more important to me how all the internal processes are functioning, as those are what make me feel better, as they work more efficiently. If we start seeing our body as a friend, realizing it performs a lot of functions without any input from us. It has its own organizing abilities involving digesting, breathing, filtering, moving fluids and wastes. It would be great to treat our body as we would a really good friend: give it attention, listen, love understanding and compassion. In return our body will really work better. Just as in daily life at work or play, everyone does better if they receive gratitude and appreciation for what they do. It is the same for our body: thank all those organs, muscles, bones, nerves and even the parts we don’t their names.

So if we are not the thoughts we think, or the emotions we have, or even the body we dwell in, what can we be? Of course, all of these are part of who we are as they create our personal energy. And there is more. I would like you to do a quick visualization right now. Read through it then close your eyes and imagine.

Close your eyes and imagine you are walking down a wooded path. It is a warm day and you can feel the sun as it shines through the trees. There is a spot where there is a lovely clear pool with a gentle waterfall bringing in fresh water and a meandering stream flowing out. There are soft bushes, fragrant flowers and shade trees all around. You can hear the bird songs, the water flow and the leaves rustle. As you look at this place you feel an energy: peacefulness, comfort, happiness, joy, gentleness… an energy that is more than all the parts. This is the chi of the place… the life force, the energy that carries a special spark, extra information that creates that feeling in you. It is a place you love to be.

What the inner smile is doing for me is to create the “Qi of Nance” It is a place where I feel comfortable, joyful, peaceful, balanced and confident to be myself. It is a more complete me which I can love fully.

There is a saying from the Taoists that when we smile, our organs release a honey-like substance which nourishes our bodies. Smiling seems so easy to do and the benefits are great. I hope you take the time each day to smile and laugh more and express your gratitude to your body.

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