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Wellness Wednesday: Smiling Is a Superpower

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Imagine having the power of a beautiful, bright and beaming miniature sun at your disposal. To bring it forth at your leisure, like your own personal superpower, and have it shine whenever you wanted, brightening someone’s day, or bringing warmth to any room you enter.

We all have this ability by simply sharing a warm smile.

Just as the sun is the most important source of energy for life on earth, our smiles are one of the most powerful gifts and cost us nothing to share. What an amazing difference it can make when shared sincerely.

Some of the beaming benefits of beautiful smiles include our brains being as stimulated as if we consumed 2000 bars of chocolate, without the caloric collateral damage that goes along with the consumption.

With 3D ultrasound imagery, we now know that babies are smiling as early as while in the womb. Not only do we start smiling before we enter this world, but research has also found that a healthy habit of smiling may increase one’s life by seven years.

Children smile between 400 to 500 times per day. Happy adults smile up to 50 times a day, while some only smile as little as five times a day.

This brings up the topic of the anti-smile, known as the “ice grill”.

I grew up in East New York, Brooklyn where the ice grill was a way of life, a cultural norm adapted through a sense of survival of the fittest. Similar to the term “mean mugging”, “ice grilling” is said to have originated in prison and boiled over into the territories the incarcerated were released.

The “ice grill” aka the “stare of death” was often followed by attempts on one’s life (worst case scenario) or an attempt to dominate and subjugate someone to scarily avert their gaze at a minimum.

Whether it originated in prison culture and spread through the inner cities, or has its genesis by some other means, it’s an unconscious learned behavior based on surviving the terrain of certain environments.

Yet and still, you can find beautifully bright, magnetic smiles co-existing where the ice grill may be a strong part of the fabric of the neighborhood.

Smiles are a natural expression but as we age, they can lessen, as life’s lessons take their toll. Besides the fact that you can illuminate someone’s day with the gift of a golden smile, remember it also improves mood, decreases stress and some studies say it makes you more attractive.

Ultimately a smile is one of the few free things that can be shared and benefit yourself as well as those who experience it.

We hope this article increases your sharing of that superpower.

Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah.

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