My mother taught me to smile at everyone. She said,
Life is not just about you. It does not matter how you feel because the Lord placed us here to help others. Smiling makes other people feel good, so if you cannot do anything else for someone, you can at least smile at him.
Homespun wisdom that rings true. Even though my mother was right (of course, I did not think so at the time.) over sixty years ago, my mother was unaware then of the physical importance of smiling on the "smiler."
There is a ripple effect generated from smiling. When a person smiles, the brain produces endorphins which are chemicals inside the body. When endorphins are release, they produce a feeling of well-being: the release helps relieve physical and emotional stress. Stress affects so many things in a person's life including a host of illnesses. Conversely, the person receiving the smile may also have that endorphin experience and then he feels better, and then he smiles...thus, the ripple effect.
A smile can also be an involuntary response, but a real smile come from inside the heart. The genuine smile created by certain stimuli--a mother's teaching, a memory or sound, a happy thought, seeing something funny---feels good and then that sense of well-being kicks in automatically.
Remember the old saying about it takes more effort and muscles to frown than it does to smile. It is true: 37 muscles to frown and 22 to smile. Smile because it saves energy. I read in a book that smiling confuses the frown. (Did I make you smile?) William Shakespeare in Othello also felt smiling was vital:
The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief.
Like the old song says, "just keep on smiling, smile through the pain."