Changes of the heart can show up on the face. But can changing our expression also help to change our heart? According to an article in The New York Times, the act of smiling, can contribute to pleasant feelings. Writer Daniel Goleman says there is a relationship between facial expression and resulting mood. He cites experiments in which researchers found that pronouncing the word cheese prompted a smile and pleasant feelings, while pronouncing the word few tended to create another expression, resulting in negative emotions.
Smiling isn’t the only thing we can do to change the way we feel. In Psalm 4, we find many actions that troubled people can take. When distress grips out soul, we can ask the Lord for relief and mercy (v. 1). We can take comfort in knowing we are among those who are favored by Him, remembering that He hears us when we call (v. 3). We can acknowledge our feelings and be quiet before Him (v. 4). We can do what is right (v. 5) and trust in Him to give us overflowing gladness (v. 7). And we can rest in the assurance of His peace and safety (v. 8).
Father, help us in our low moments to look up to You. And may we find in You the peace and inner gladness that will put a smile on our face. – Martin R. De Haan II
A smile can help reduce our pain
And lighten our despair,
But trust in God gives inner peace
And joy beyond compare. – Sper
A heart touched by grace brings joy to the face.
– July 21, 1992, Our Daily Bread