Happy Inner Beauty and World Smile Day!

Health—and happiness—are inside jobs

Did you know that the first Friday in October is both Inner Beauty Day and World Smile Day? I think this is appropriate because, like most things related to health and beauty, smiling and inner beauty are connected!

Inner Beauty Day was created to encourage broader and deeper definitions of beauty than the faces we see on magazine covers—and to recognize that the authentic expression of each unique individual—including you!—is, in fact, beautiful. When we honor and appreciate ourselves, inner beauty is something we all have access to.

World Smile Day has a surprising history. It was designated by Harvey Ball, the graphic designer who created the Smiley Face image back in 1963. His simple drawing exploded in popularity, becoming ubiquitous as a universal symbol of goodwill. In 1999, World Smile Day was made an official holiday to remind people of the power of a smile. Smiling makes you feel good through the release of endorphins. Smiling also lifts others—making them smile and get their own endorphin release in return!

One of the best ways to celebrate both of these days is by beginning with some quiet reflection and appreciation of yourself—the beautiful person you are inside. I like focusing on my Insight cards, which offer sayings such as “Be thrilled with who you are.” “Give yourself permission to be successful.” And “Forgive yourself.” This quiet time helps me to remember that I am actually the director of my own day. I can create the day I want; I am not only the designated responder to incoming texts, Tweets, and emails. Since I am the authority in my own life, “Why have a bad day, when I can have a good day”?

After that, I’d suggest that you do at least one thing that honors the beautiful person you are. Perhaps you’ll be conscious of the food you put into your body today—only feeding yourself foods that look good, taste good, and are good for you. Perhaps you’ll indulge in a massage or facial, or a mani-pedi. Perhaps you’ll take yourself dancing or for a walk on the beach. Perhaps you’ll set aside an hour to curl up with a book, or meet a friend for coffee. Perhaps you’ll buy yourself flowers.

A third way to honor Inner Beauty and World Smile Day is to share the goodwill you feel inside with others, perhaps by practicing one or more “random acts of kindness.” Small courtesies like holding the door for the person behind you, deferring to another driver at the intersection, or even paying the toll for the motorist behind you, can help make your world seem more like a community of friends, rather than an arena of competing strangers. Of course, there are countless other, more elaborate ways to lift spirits, too: volunteer, buy someone a meal, donate blood, write or telephone a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.

In my 50 years of practicing medicine, I have always advised patients about the importance of mental and emotional health for physical well-being—and vice versa. Two of my favorite Insights are “The fastest way to improve your mood is to smile,” and “Happiness is the best facelift.” Of course, it’s easier to smile and feel happy when you’re healthy, so that’s another reason to take good care of your health. When you’re healthy, you’re beautiful. When you feel beautiful, you smile. When you smile, you make others happy. It’s a beautiful feedback loop.

Similarly, when you honor yourself as a unique and valuable person, regardless of how well you fit conventional ideas of “beauty,” you are more likely to be happy and to take care of yourself.

To your beautiful self—inside and out!

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider, who should also be consulted with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.


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