Today: the first Friday in October, is World Smile Day. It is a chance to discover the power of smiling – both for yourself and how others react to you!
By smiling you affect yourself – your mood and confidence as well as how others perceive you. Today I was in an unforeseen traffic jam: a lorry had parked inconsiderately, causing a 1/2 mile jam). This made me late for my Zumba lesson. I could have frowned and got frustrated by the traffic jam, but I chose to smile which made me feel energised – and I didn’t infect the high energy class by being grumpy! If I had been grumpy, I would have been ignored.
How often to we refer to a colleague as being grumpy, or we even avoid someone with a long face; by being a person who walks around with a smile on your face, you look happy and positive; people want to be around you.
Watch a video of one of my favourite songs: “Smile” performed by Nat King Cole.
There are other benefits to smiling: it has scientifically documented effects associated with reduced stress hormone levels ( like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), lowered blood pressure and increased health and ‘happy’ hormone levels like endorphins. Rather like Amy Cuddy’s amazing Power Pose, where you can benefit from reduced stress hormones and increased endorphins, this is an EASY way to feel better about yourself quickly.
In addition to this, smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that EVEN Chocolate (what?) can’t match! A UK study found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation to up to 2,000 chocolate bars. And that smiling can be as stimulating as receiving up to £16K cash (yippee!) If you smile enough times a day, you can feel like a multi-millionnaire!
There is also evidence that individuals’ wellbeing is affected by smiles! The UC Berkeley conducted a 30 year study that examine the smile of students in an old yearbook. For UK readers, a yearbook has photos of every leaver when they graduate from High School. They examined the smiles of the photographs and measured their success and well-being for 30 years after. Through measuring the smiles in the photos, the researchers were able to predict a number of significant life points: how long their marriages would last, their happiness and general well-being and how inspirational they would be to others. Those with the widest smiles confidently ranked highest of all. This is good news for me, since I was always criticised by my classmates at school for having a wide smile in photos!
“Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened”. Dr Seuss
However, when I tell some of my clients to smile they squeal and say “But it isn’t professional!” or “I feel cheesy”. Of course there is a huge difference between an “Eyes and Teeth” cheesy grin adopted by Stage School kids, to a genuine, warm smile. Having a twinkle in your eyes and a lovely smile makes you look great, trustworthy and fun to be around. Of course in certain business situations, such as negotiating, I would refer to Natalie Reynold’s Excellent book “We have a deal” on whether or not to smile 😉
But we do know that when you smile:
- you look good and feel good.
- When others see you smile, they smile too and feel better about themselves.
- When others smile, they look good and feel good too.
- AND THIS IS ALL FOR FREE!
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness”. William Arthur Ward
SO the benefits of smiling are immense: a smile makes you feel and look good; makes other people respond to you in a positive way; you reduce your stress levels whilst increasing your feel good hormones without resorting to a chocolate binge and you can live longer. So let’s celebrate World Smiling Day, because it is a good one!
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