Why Should I Smile When I Hurt Inside? Surprising Benefits

I tried my best to get through everyday activities after my husband left my daughter and me.

Going to church was difficult as everyone wanted to smile and hug while I felt dead inside. Seeing my joyful friends was like a movie in slow motion as I watched from the outside looking in.

I remembered just a few months before when I was a part of their joy. Now I wondered, “why should I smile when I hurt inside?”

Your circumstances may be different, yet you may be asking the same question. Or maybe you are wondering:

  • What is a good reason to smile?
  • Are there health benefits of smiling?
  • Are there Bible verses about smiling?

We will talk about these questions and more.

Why should I smile? What happens next?

Is smiling good for you? The answer is a resounding “YES”. There are technical explanations but we will keep it simple here. The use of our facial muscles in the simple act of smiling cause changes in the brain.

How smiling affects the brain

It is as if there is a direct connection between the face and the brain. Smiling causes a chemical reaction, releasing the following:

  • neuropeptides
  • endorphins
  • dopamine
  • serotonin

Neuropeptides help fight stress in our bodies.

Endorphins act as natural painkillers.

Serotonin acts as a natural anti-depressant. In fact, low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

Dopamine is a mood regulator among other things.

It is easy to see why these chemicals are sometimes called “happy hormones”. When they are produced as a response to a smile, we experience a sense of well-being and happiness.

The more we smile, the longer we experience these feelings.

How smiling affects your health

Smiling has many health benefits. The hormones produced in the brain affect other parts of the body and our overall health by:

  • reducing stress levels which cause inflammation leading to many diseases
  • improving heart health including lowering our heart rate
  • lower blood pressure
  • boosting immune function
  • reducing cortisol in the body

The great thing is that smiling is free! While medical treatment is often needed for health disorders, smiling can help augment treatment.

It has long been recognized that smiling and laughing can shorten the need for medical interventions.

Not only does smiling improve our health, help diffuse stressful situations, and change negative emotions to positive emotions, but it also makes us more attractive.

Practice smiling

In clinical studies, researchers gave participants a simple exercise that replicated smiling.

Each person was instructed to hold a pen between their teeth and not let their upper lips touch their lower lips. This activated the smile muscles regardless of emotional state.

The participants felt more like happy people during the study. So even fake smiles bring positive results.

Next time you are feeling down in the dumps, try turning your frown upside down even if it is a fake smile. Showing your pearly whites is good for mental health. 

How smiling affects those around you

When I was growing up, there was a little song that we sang that went like this:

“Smile awhile and give your face a rest. Raise your hands to the one you love the best. Then shake hands with one nearby, and greet them with a smile.” (Author unknown)

A genuine smile is contagious. Scientific research found that when people are looking at pictures of a smiling person, it was impossible for them to frown. 

Even emojis of a smiley face cause positive thoughts and emotions in others. Imagine what authentic smiles will do!

A happy facial expression also makes a good first impression and helps in making new friends. 

This simple gesture makes other people feel comfortable in your presence, as well as making them feel accepted. 

A simple smile not only will improve your day, but it will improve theirs too.

Bible verses about why I should smile

Probably one of the most well-known Bible verses about smiling is found in Proverbs 17:22.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dies up the bones.” ESV

It has only been in the last century that science has recognized the importance of smiling. However, Scripture has been telling us all along about the benefits.

Other verses that talk about the importance of a positive facial expression are:

  • “For everything there is a season … a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
  • Eat your bread with joy, and drink you wine with a merry heart.” Ecclesiastes 9:7
  • “For the one who pleases Him, God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy.” Ecclesiastes 2:26
  • “The hope of the righteous brings joy …” Proverbs 10:26
  • Delight yourself in the Lord.” Psalm 37:4
  • “I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices.” Psalm 16:8-9

These are just a sampling of the Bible verses about the good vibes that a healthy smile brings.

We have reasons to smile even when we don’t feel like it. God is always faithful to us.

Regardless of our circumstances, He will never leave us. He promises to help us in the storms of life, bringing something good from them.

Why should I smile when it hurts inside?

Never underestimate the power of the physical act of smiling. 

Not only is it good for us physically, but it can actually change our mood.

I have put this to the test on days when I felt neither sadness nor happiness. I would look in the mirror and just smile.

Yes, these were fake smiles. But I instantly felt a sense of well-being and joy, just simply smiling.

This natural antidepressant is the best thing we can do to boost our own morale. It is some of the best medicine around. 

Smiling is also an affirmation of our trust in God. It is a way to say “thank you” for His many gifts. His plans for us are good whether we can see it yet or not.

Practice makes perfect. Sometimes we have to fake it until we make it.

Smiling is not all about us

While smiling has many benefits for our emotional and physical health, it is not totally about us. In fact, as Christians, we are to live our lives as unto the LORD.

Our smiles are a gift to others, and to God our creator.

Our Scripture passage from Ecclesiastes says, there are times when laughter and smiles are not appropriate. But when possible, we should consider our smiles an act of obedience, worship, and gratitude.

It is part of being conformed to the image of Christ, who came not to be served but to serve.

Show someone you care about them with the gift of a smile. Then thank God that it is in your power to do this act of service.

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