“Peace begins with a smile.” – Mother Teresa
My father is a dentist and I worked intermittently at his office as a pre-teen and teenager. I remember that he had the front desk personnel keep a mirror in front of themselves so that they could see whether or not they were smiling. He knew that the person on the other end of the phone would hear the smile and that it would make his patients happy. Smart man, my dad. Here are six ways that smiling will make your life better and happier:
#1 – Smiling Releases Feel Good Hormones
It turns out that there is good science demonstrating that the physical act of smiling changes your mood. And, you don’t even have to be happy to start. For me, this sort of outside in approach to happiness is really important. I don’t always naturally feel happy or content…who does? But, knowing a few tricks to pull myself out of the doldrums is empowering. Putting on a happy face, as it were, is a go-to strategy.
#2 – Smiling Makes Other People Happy
How do you feel when you approach someone and they greet you with a warm smile? Good, right? Making other people happy is super important because when people around you are happy they emit positivity and that makes your life better. I remember when my children were babies and we were soooo excited for their “social smiles” to begin. Smiling makes others smile and that will make you happy. It’s a virtuous circle!
#3 – Smiling Makes You More Approachable
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward
I work in New York City and interact with many people during the course of the day. When I’m going about my day with a smile on my face, all sorts of interesting people engage me in a wide range of conversations and interactions. When I’m looking like a grump, they don’t. There is one caveat to this strategy, however. When I first moved this way from a smaller town in New Mexico, I rolled around town smiling and nodding at everyone I passed on the sidewalk. This strategy tends to attract crazy people who are otherwise shunned by savvier city folk. So, it’s all about balance. But, if you enjoy a nice howdoyoudonicetomeetyaenjoyyourday as much as I do, better to err on the side of smiling.
#4 – Smiling Helps You Focus on the Positive
It’s hard to mull over everything that you’re worried about when you are walking down the street smiling. That sort of cognitive dissonance just doesn’t come easily. I notice that when I’m going through life with a smile I tend to look up and take in the world around me. There is so much beauty in the world when we are open to seeing it and smiling makes me much more likely to take notice of the adorable child, beautiful morning sky, pretty flowers, etc.
#5 – Smiling Improves Your Reputation
There are a lot of people at work with whom I interact very little. How do they view me? What assumptions do they have about my effectiveness? It’s human nature to draw judgements about people. Our minds are very good at categorizing information so that we can get through the day without being overwhelmed. Smiling is one of the easiest ways for you to develop a reputation at work as being friendly, at ease, and productive.
#6 – Smiling FEELS Good!
The best reason to start smiling is that it just feels good. Try it today!