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A Simple Mindfulness Practice: Noticing Yourself Smile

mindful smiling

The purpose of this article is to help you be more aware of the nature of your smile through a simple mindfulness practice. Here are some questions for you to answer:

What is your smile like? Is it a smirk? Is it a big toothy grin?
Are you aware of your smile when in conversation with others and also when you are alone?
Do you smile often?
Do you have a serious look?
Do you smile at yourself when you look in the mirror?
Some of the questions may have been easy to answer, some not so easy. Here is how you can try this mindfulness practice to notice and be more mindful of your smile.

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Mindfulness is a beautiful practice that helps us become rooted in life. It involves getting our minds back to the present and paying attention to the life that is unfolding right now within and around us.

A Simple, Mindfulness Practice To Start Smiling ‘Mindfully’

1. Bring your smile into your awareness:

From the time you wake up till the time you go to bed stay with awareness of your smile. Take note of the times you smile.  Take note of the times you are not smiling. Do not force your smile to appear or try to keep it away.

2. Notice how smiling makes you feel:

Be aware of what the different sensations and movements in your body as you smile. Feel how your cheeks respond to your smile. It may also stir some senses in the rest of your body; observe how the smile makes you feel in your chest center and your stomach. Can you feel the smile in your toes or anywhere else in the body? Do your eyes smile along with your lips?

Also notice yourself when you are not smiling. Do you have a straight face? Do your lips turn downwards into a curve? Does your face tend to naturally pout? Be aware of what you do with your lips when you are not speaking. Use this mindfulness practice to stay in awareness.

A beautiful excerpt from Thich Nhat Hahn’s book, Being Peace, helps put mindful smiling into perspective:

During walking meditation, during kitchen and garden work, during sitting meditation, all day long, we can practice smiling. At first you may find it difficult to smile, and we have to think about why.

Smiling means that we are ourselves, that we are not drowned into forgetfulness. This kind of smile can be seen on the faces of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

I would like to offer one short poem you can recite from time to time, while breathing and smiling.

Breathing in, I calm body and mind.

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment

I know this is the only moment.

About the Author

This article was written by Counselors & Mindfulness Trainers at Inner Space.

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