“ Smile , it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart.”
Anthony J. D’Angelo
Back from Florida ahead of Hurricane Wilma, I asked my teenage son what he thought I should write about this time and he said ‘doughnuts’. I explained that although I found the topic an intriguing one (my mind immediately leaping to how I could link this into an interesting piece), it really needed to be more relevant to what I do, not what he would like to be doing! So his next suggestion was ‘Smiling’.
I nearly dismissed this until I remembered that while I had been working on the fourth module of my e-course today the topic of smiling had come up. It was in the context of self-confidence and how to develop it, in this case by meeting people with a smile and a friendly manner so as to engage and interest them. By asking people about themselves and really listening to their answers with a smile, not only will they feel comfortable and pleased to be around you, but your confidence will grow with each encounter. You will be remembered as much for your smile as who you are and what you do. As long as the smile is genuine and you use eye-contact you will come across as friendly and approachable – and confident. Smiling is such a powerful tool.
I couldn’t leave it there, so did a search on Google and came up with the following:
More facts about smiling
• A smile is a universal expression of happiness and recognized as such by all cultures
• A smile is the most frequently used facial expression It takes as few as five pairs of facial muscles and as many as all 53 to smile
• Regardless of the precise number of muscles used, smiling causes far fewer muscles to contract and expand than frowning
• Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better
• Even ‘faking’ a smile can lead to feeling happier
• People are born with the ability to smile (They don’t copy the expression, even babies who are born blind, smile)
• Babies reserve special smiles (Duchenne smiles of joy and happiness) for their loved ones
• A newborn shows a preference for a smiling face over a non-smiling face
• Women smile more than men
• Younger people smile more than older people. American males with high testosterone smile least of all.
• There are 18 different kinds of smile used in a variety of social situations
• Human beings can differentiate between the ‘felt’ (Duchenne) smile (of joy and happiness) and the social smile – ‘it’s in the eyes’ (literally)
• A smiling person is judged to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable, and competent than a non-smiling person
• A person who studies laughter is called a ‘gelotologist’
Can smiling help you to move forwards? Are you lacking in confidence and afraid to be noticed? Practice smiling. Think of what you can ask people about themselves and jot down some notes. Try it out on a family member, friend or a colleague that you trust. Think about those people who seem to always have a smile and a word for others. How do they make you feel? You can be like that too.
You can choose to be permanently grumpy or you can choose to cheer up and smile! Have you been putting off the smiles? By smiling you will be releasing endorphins in your brain which will make you feel better (see above). You can even trick your brain into believing you feel good by getting that smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it yet. Do it long enough and you won’t have to fake it.
One of my favorite exercises is to have a ‘Smile Day’. From the moment I get up I decide that I am going to smile at everyone I see. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not, I will still smile, and often say ‘Hello’. It is amazing how many people will smile back. Sometimes you don’t get one in return, but most people are delighted to return it to you. By the end of the day I am much more happy and positive than when I started.
What makes you happy? What do you like doing? Where can you include more of this in your life?
Try and smile at at least one stranger each day. For the less confident this could be a challenge – but you can do it!
Happiness comes from many sources, including expressing ourselves creatively. What are you going to do this week to express yourself? I have planned a whole day of crafting, as I have been putting that on the back seat for quite a while. You don’t need to commit to a whole day, just what you can.
A smile costs nothing, however it brings great richness to the recipient