The Secret Of Inner SmilingThe Secret Of Inner Smiling

In this article, we'll explore a centuries-old practice that's recently been updated through extensive scientific research by The Institute of HeartMath®. This practice is "Inner Smiling." It is a powerful way to reduce stress, improve your health and immune response, stay calm in the midst of chaos, and connect with inner clarity and intuitive guidance.

While The Institute of HeartMath® does not call their technique Inner Smiling (they call it HeartMath® and speak of generating "core heart feelings"), as a teacher of a meditation style in which Inner Smiling is prominent, I recognize essential similarities in these approaches. The basis of Inner Smiling is actively self-generating acceptance, gratitude, care, and trust. In Qigong ("chee-gung") or energy meditation we do this throughout our body as a whole, while HeartMath® has discovered the power of focusing on your heart while you generate these feelings.

Here are some of the benefits of Inner Smiling. It can lower your blood pressure, calm your nervous system, improve hormone balance, improve your brain function, and give a positive feeling of well-being. These effects begin by bringing heart rhythms into balance. This facilitates coherent brainwaves and integrated whole brain function. Generating an inner smile also brings your parasympathetic nervous system online, which is your relaxation and recovery mode.

When your "relaxation response" is active, your levels of muscle tension decrease, your digestive system receives more blood for doing its job well, and your immune system gets the energy it needs to function at a peak level. Your higher level brain functions also come online. This is in contrast to when you feel fear and stress, which actually shuts down your higher brain functions. As your body relaxes, you decrease production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and increase production of DHEA, which regulates your body's ability to heal and repair itself.

Pretty exciting stuff!

So, how do you practice Inner Smiling?

Here are four simple steps:

1. Close your eyes and take several slow deep breaths.

2. Imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart to focus your attention there.

3. Smile into your heart with acceptance, appreciation, gratitude, and care.

4. Imagine and feel your Inner Smile expanding from your heart to infuse every cell in your body.

To help you generate Inner Smiling in your heart and your body as a whole, you can bring to mind someone whom you care for unconditionally, such as your parent, spouse, child, or pet. Or recall something that you love to do or someone who makes you smile. Bring your appreciation for those people, pets, or events, into your heart and then send it outward into your whole body.

If you find this challenging at first, you might spend a little extra time focusing on breathing deeply in and out through your heart. Allow any feelings of tension or irritation to dissolve in your breath. Then, imagine someone or something you effortlessly appreciate or simply accept yourself and whatever is happening unconditionally. Be grateful for "what is."

Just putting a subtle smile on your lips may be enough to bring an Inner Smile into your body. Inner Smiling is a doorway to feeling your inner essence and transforming your life from the inside out.

Enjoy your practice!
by Kevin Schoeninger
References and Bibliography
Are you ready to quiet your mind, relax deeply, and manifest what your heart desires? Discover how to take your practice to the next level. For the best meditation techniques, information, and tips, be sure to visit us here:
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