A smiling face is a beautiful face. A smiling heart is a happy heart – Dr. T.P Chia.
I am continuing a series of articles today from the top life-changing attitude attributes from Jeffery Gitomer’s book “The Golden Book of Yes”. These are habits that, when developed, will keep your attitude at its most positive, and enable you to be the confident, capable you are intended to be.
Today’s attitude attribute is one I firmly believe in. It is very simple, yet many of us ignore its amazing benefits. The command (if you can even call it that) is to smile. It is amazing how much power a smile has. Its benefits to you and to those around you are very much underestimated, especially in today’s fast-paced, stressful world.
I find the significance and power of a smile so important, I made it the first chapter of my book, “30 Days to a More Powerful Life”. I share this chapter with you here….
How much power does a smile have? Think about holding or watching a baby. What happens when that baby innocently smiles at us? Well, I cannot think of one human being that would not smile back at the baby, regardless of the mood they are in. If the smile of an infant only several months old can have such a positive effect, can it be the same with older kids and adults? I am a firm believer in the power of a smile. In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie notes that a smile is a simple way to make a great first impression.[i] Based on what I have read and my own observations, here are several powerful effects of a smile:
- It makes us feel good about ourselves. I’m not an expert on psychology, but it is said that not only do our actions follow our emotions, but it can work the other way around. When we smile, positive emotions follow. By smiling and remaining positive, we have a better outlook on all aspects of our life.
- We receive positive reactions from others. Think of the baby and how we smile back. In most cases, if we smile at someone, they will smile back.
- It is a sign of confidence. Think of those who constantly have smiles on their faces. Doesn’t it seem like they have everything totally under control?
- It can solve a negative situation. I’ve dealt with angry customers and upset students. When I approach them with a smile and gentleness, they are much more willing to listen and cooperate.
Smiling is also known to have several health benefits. I read an article online by Dr. Mark Stibich. He lists 10 ways that smiling affects our health, stress level, and attractiveness:[ii]
- Smiling makes us more attractive.
- Smiling improves our mood.
- Smiling is contagious.
- Smiling relieves stress.
- Smiling boosts your immune system.
- Smiling lowers blood pressure.
- Smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and Serotonin. It’s a natural drug!
- Smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger.
- Smiling makes you seem successful.
- Smiling helps you stay positive.
I love the test Dr. Stibich includes at the end of his article. He challenges us to smile, and then try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It is very difficult to do because the smile sends the message that all is well in our worlds, and it conflicts and actually repels any negative thoughts.
As you can see, there are plenty of other benefits to a smile. It is such a simple concept, yet how many of us fail to do this? I do my best to keep a smile on my face, but sometimes still end up doing so much less than I should. Smiling is contagious. Starting from just one person, it can spread joy very quickly, and have powerful impacts on everyone in the office, classroom, household, or whatever environment. Why not help ourselves and those around us stay positive and enjoy life simply by smiling often? It is a challenge that I am willing to take, and I suggest it to you too.
Action Plan: As mentioned, smiling is a very easy thing to do. Even when things are not going as well as we would like, we can make a conscious effort to smile, and it can make a difference in our circumstances. Whenever you think of it throughout the day, allow yourself to smile. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Eventually, you begin to experience the many benefits mentioned above. The result is a happier and more beneficial life for you and for those around you.
[i] Carnegie, D. (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People, 95. New York. Simon and Schuster.
[ii] Stibich, M. Ph.D, Top 10 Reasons to Smile. About.com. Updated February 4, 2010.
I certainly hope this information convinces you to smile more today. As you will see, the more you do so, the better you will feel and will help others do the same. Enjoy the blessings 🙂