Careless driving, rising tempers, and foul language are a source of traffic fights among some taxi and minibus drivers in our city of Benin, Nigeria.
One traffic incident I witnessed took a different turn. A bus was almost hit by a careless taxi driver. I expected the bus driver to get angry and yell at the other driver, but he didn’t. The bus driver relaxed his stern face and smiled broadly at the guilty-looking taxi driver. And the smile worked wonders. With a raised hand, the taxi driver apologized, smiled back, and moved away—the tension diffused.
A smile has a fascinating effect on our brain chemistry. As a biochemistry graduate, I understand smiling releases brain chemicals called endorphins, which have a relaxing physiological effect. Not only can a smile diffuse a tense situation, but it can also diffuse tension within us. Our emotions affect us as well as others.
The Bible teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:31–32).
When anger, tension, or bitterness threaten our relationship with the Lord and with others, remember that “a cheerful heart is good medicine”—good medicine for our own joy and well-being.
Remember how you feel when you are angry or have an argument with someone. Then imagine how next time you could wield cheerfulness instead.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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