Smiling is a very simple way to feel good. It’s amazing how you can lift your mood instantly just by smiling. It may sound too easy or simplistic, especially if you’re someone who mistakenly believes that the wisdom of life should always be somehow obscure or unattainable, but the simple act of smiling makes uncommonly good sense. It also fits into the Buddhist practice of positive perception. By smiling, the body is giving your mind and heart a positive message. You feel more lighthearted, as if the world had suddenly become more enjoyable. Not only does smiling lighten your outlook, but your open, cheerful face brings joy to other people. The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, a contemporary Buddhist teacher, advises us to smile all the time. If you are not ready to do that, you could at least smile more often. That’s a good beginning.
You don’t have to force a smile and actually shouldn’t. Smiling takes so little effort: it’s as if the muscles controlling the smile were just waiting for their chance. Notice any instant mood lift and enjoy it. It can be just a little smile; often that feels the most natural. Feel as though you have an inner smile, like sunshine within you, and that you’re smiling inside without needing a reason. You may discover that your unhappy mood or mind-set is not so rigid.
From Boundless Healing