The Institute for Spirituality and Health
Exploring the connections between spirituality and health.


Spirited Words

See below for a collection of reflections, writings, essays, poems, and other contributions that the ISH community has submitted over the years. We hope you enjoy.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to our blog, please contact Anyang Anyang <>. We publish writing that relates to our mission of enhancing well-being by exploring the relationship between spirituality and health.


A Smile Alleviates Stress

By John Graham

February 28th, 2013

In the January 26, 2013 issue of The Wall Street Journal there is an interesting article entitled “Stress-Busting Smiles.”  Clearly, we all know that smiling is great for our sense of well-being.  But, I suspect we think, “Well, if things were better in my life, I’d smile.  But, right now I don’t have anything to smile about.”  Okay, life is difficult.  That’s what Scott Peck told us in The Road Less Traveled.  But, have you noticed there are always people who seem to have a smile on their face all the time, even though you know everything is not perfect in their life?  I have known people like that and what happens is they awaken a smile in the rest of us — a smile is as contagious as a cold virus.  As the saying goes, “Laugh and all the world will laugh with you; weep and you weap alone.”  That is actually the first line of a poem, “Solitude,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1991).  I believe it contains a lot of wisdom.  Read the rest of the poem:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you: 
Weep, and you weep alone; 
For the sad old earth
Must borrow its mirth, 
It has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer; 
Sigh, it is lost on the air; 
The echoes bound
To a joyful sound, 
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you; 
Grieve, and they turn and go; 
They want full measure
Of all your pleasure, 
But they do not want your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many; 
Be sad, and you lose them all; 
There are none to decline
Your nectared wine, 
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded; 
Fast, and the world goes by; 
Succeed and give, 
And it helps you live, 
But it cannot help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train; 
But one by one
We must all file on

Sara Moore