Articles by Stan Dean

The Value of a Smile

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I can remember being taught early in life that it takes more facial muscles to frown than it does to smile. Actually that is true. It takes about 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. However, the point being made was- - we should naturally desire and practice a positive, cheerful disposition.


Job made the point that we can benefit ourselves by smiling (cf. Job 9:27). But we also learn that others around us can be profited by an action as simple as a smile. To illustrate, Psychology Today reported the results of a study once made in this area.


The set-up was this: college students were asked to come to the office of a psychology professor one at a time to take a test. When the student arrived, the professor would say, “Come in and sit down, please. I’m going to read you a set of instructions. I am not permitted to say anything that’s not in the instructions, nor can I answer any questions about the exam. Okay?”


The student would take the test and leave. Another student would then come in and the professor would repeat the same instructions until all the students had taken the test. Each student heard the exact same words, but with one exception. The professor deliberately smiled as he instructed some and did not smile with the others- - which was the real test. Would a simple smile make any difference?


As you have probably already guessed, those who received the smile did significantly better on the test. An author who is unknown to me penned: “A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign in friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and is nature’s best antidote for trouble.”


We do not find the word “smile” in most versions of the New Testament. However, we commonly find words like “joy” and “rejoice” (cf. Philippians). And how can you have one without the other? So, smile! It will do you good- - and others, too.


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