By Andrew Calabrese
Recently, we began a lesson series in our Young Marrieds class about being positive. In our world today, it seems as if there is an epidemic of negativity. Think about it. You may find yourself around people who are always finding something to complain about. If you turn on the news, chances are in seconds you will hear a negative story unfold. Even in our own self-talk—the way we speak to ourselves—we seem to talk down to ourselves and about ourselves.
As children of God, I believe we should be the most positive, happy people in the world. We have a Father in Heaven who has been so incredibly good to us, and we have an eternity that is secure. However, it seems as if followers of Christ are the least happy, the most critical and judgmental, and the most negative of any people. This needs to change.
I found this to be true in my own life. As I was assessing my previous year and examining my heart, I realized that I had been a very pessimistic Christ-follower. Doesn’t have a good ring to it, does it? Upon that conclusion, I have determined to make 2016 the most positive, optimistic year I have ever had, and I want to help others make this year a positive one too.
I could probably help myself and other people around me become more positive in several different ways, but there is one way that sticks out to me above all others. I can help myself and others around me become more positive by simply learning to smile more. Smiling is so important for us to practice as believers. It is important for several reasons:
1. It puts you in a better mood.
This is a proven benefit of smiling. It affects you at a biological level, releasing endorphins and serotonins. Let’s face it, when you are in a bad mood, it’s not fun for others to be around you. The opposite is true as well. When you are in a better mood, others will enjoy being around you.
Smiling also provides several physical benefits. It lowers your blood pressure, boosts your immune system, and it relieves you of stress. Talk about some cheap medicine, right? I had no idea smiling was capable of improving one’s health and mood, but it has been scientifically proven to do just that.
2. It generates a positive culture.
When you smile, it is only natural for others to follow suit and smile too. Smiles communicate happiness. So, wherever you are—whether you’re at work, at school, at church, at your home, or at the grocery store, people will instinctively become more positive. It helps generate a positive culture. Who wouldn’t want to be at a church where people are smiling and happy? What kids wouldn’t want to come home to a happy house?
3. It helps people around us relax.
When you scowl, frown, or look too intense, it causes others to put a defense up. They will become protected and guarded, making it more difficult to relate with them. This is probably not how you want others to feel when you are with them. Therefore, you should practice smiling more. A simple smile communicates that you are safe and can be trusted, allowing others to relax around you.
4. It attracts people to you.
Have you ever realized how you become drawn to people who smile or laugh a lot? Just as negative energy is contagious, positive energy is contagious too! The fact of the matter is people want to be around someone who is happy. If you want others to enjoy your presence, learn to smile more.
5. It allows you to easily connect with others.
Smiling is one of the easiest and quickest ways to connect with anyone of any race or any culture. One author said, “[Smiling] opens the door, welcomes people into your world, and communicates acceptance. Even if people are frustrated or angry, a smile can often turn them around.” The moment you smile, you can create a connection.
So, why don’t you practice smiling more? It can create a positive culture in your home, your church, your work, and in your world. Determine to be a positive person in 2016.