Proof That a Simple Smile Can Make You Happy

November 12, 2015

 

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.

Todays 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, the 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]

  1. Smiling makes us more attractive.
  2. Smiling improves our mood.
  3. Smiling is contagious.
  4. Smiling relieves stress.
  5. Smiling boosts your immune system.
  6. Smiling lowers blood pressure.
  7. Smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and Serotin. It’s a natural drug!
  8. Smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger.
  9. Smiling makes you seem successful.
  10. 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 ūüôā


The Most Simple Way to Create Positive Emotions

January 13, 2014

I will start with a story that I am not proud of, but led me to the theme of this post. Here in Buffalo last week we received some of the most extreme winter weather I have ever experienced. In addition to the foot and a half of snow, we had 4o mile an hour winds and wind chill temperatures of -30. Two days later, the roads were still difficult to travel, making even this simple 10 minute ride to pick up pizza a royal pain.

I am not patient with delays, and this trip had many with traffic, slow drivers, getting stuck at lights, etc. Between the still snowy roads¬†and these delays, my patience ran out. All kinds of negative thoughts were running through my head, and all kinds of negative words were coming from my mouth. I was prompted and reminded by the Spirit about the positive thinking words I always preach, but it wasn’t working. In fact nothing was working to get me out of this funk.

Finally, after the Holy Spirit had tried all of its reminders and tricks, it reminded me of a message I had heard several years ago. It was about an author who discussed the effect and power of a smile. He had the readers try an experiment where they tried to think of something negative as they smile. I tried it then and several times since. It is extremely difficult. I decided to try that here during this negative tirade. Sure enough, I felt the cloud lift immediately. At first I was still complaining, though still with a smile on my face. Kind of like a toddler who laughs and cries at the same time. I could probably qualify because my actions were very toddler like : ) Anyway, it was about another minute before I was smiling all the way home, and the negative feelings quickly disappeared.

I will admit that there are times where we don’t want to smile, and obviously times like the death of a loved one¬†where sad feelings will last for a while. That is certainly to be expected. However, there are many other times like my situation the other day. Sure I had reason to be frustrated. However, there was no reason to let it take me over as it did. I challenge you to try this little experiment the next time you¬†find yourself¬†allowing negative feelings and thoughts to take over your being. Keep a deliberate smile on your face, and see how long it takes before the feelings disappear. It may seem fake and foolish. However, that may even cause you to laugh a bit, and as you do the negative clouds will fade away much sooner.

I have said it many times,¬†and it will¬†always remain true. A smile is powerful. Even in a case like this where you may be all alone, holding a smile can change your attitude from negative to positive very quickly. If you don’t believe me then do so and find out for yourself. If you have a crazy story like¬†mine, I certainly¬†invite you to share. Enjoy the blessings ūüôā


The 100 Smile Challenge

September 17, 2012

It was one of those Sundays. Instead of relaxing at home with the family and watching football, I was at my part time job handing out free food samples. However, it was a very slow day. The weather was beautiful, the local football team was playing their first home game, and people were just not in the food shopping mood.

My mind drifted as I stood there in the far corner of the store with much less than the normal amount of vistors I would normally see. First I prayed. Then I visualized reaching some of my goals. However, after a while I could no longer focus. I felt like I needed to do something drastic and make positive impacts at the same time. Then the idea came to my mind. I¬†usually do my best to put a smile on someone’s face with a kind word, or simply smiling at them. However, when things get busy at the store or at at the school I teach at, the smile and positive intentions sometimes disappear. I made the intention that today, since it was much slower, I would make this effort with every single person that came my way. My goal by the end of the day was to get 100 people in my presence to smile.

As I thought about it, I realized that the task was not very difficult. It’s a fact that when you smile at someone else, it is very likely they will smile back. I’ve seen it before at this store. Even if they don’t like what I’m promoting, they will still usually respond positively to the hello and smile they receive from me. The only difficulty today would actually be coming in contact with 100 people.

I began the deliberate smiles and positive greetings. I immediately received positive responses. I couldn’t get everyone to smile back, but even those who didn’t at least acknowledged me and said hello. One benefit I didn’t plan on during this time was that, as I was relaying smiles and positivity to others, I was being affected myself! I began to feel more positive and energetic. Besides putting smiles on the faces of others, I was getting the biggest kick out of this, and the smile grew automatically on my own face. The funny thing is that I was promoting a relatively unpopular product (seltzer water). Regardless, my encounters with the customers felt more natural and at ease, even though many had no interest in sampling the product.

As the day went on, I realized I was going to hit this goal. There were enough people passing by in the 4 hours I was on the floor. And I had 4 more people at home to share this positivity with as well! As it turned out, my final count was 112. As I end my day now I thank God for the idea, and the satisfaction of putting smiles on 112 faces today. It’s not the first time I’ve put a smile on someone’s face. However, it is the first time I set such a drastic goal and actually exceeded it. The reminder from this is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. I teach 150 students a day. Why not make the same deliberate effort to put some extra positive into their day? The same can be done with family members, friends, supermarket cashiers, people passing by, etc.

I would understand if you called me crazy for actually taking the time to tally smiles. I would certainly believe you. Those closest to me would say it’s something typical that I would do. However, I challenge you to do the same. Set a number goal and go out of your way to put a smile on as many faces as you can. It’s not difficult. Simply keep the smile on your own face, let God’s love shine through you, and say hello or something nice. You’ll be amazed at the positive impacts you make, and how good you feel also. Yes, the 100 smile challenge is a bit extreme, but sometimes you need to be that way to stand out and make a positive difference. Please share your results of where and when you try this and accomplish it. I would love to hear about it. Enjoy the blessings : )


A Happy Experiment

March 4, 2012

I read about an interesting little, but powerful experiment recently. I found it necessary to share.

The author (unfortunately I don’t remember where I saw this) discussed the power of a smile. They challenged the reader to smile, then try to think of something negative as you do it. I thought it was interesting, so I tried it. I was amazed how accurate the author’s statement¬†was. As I continued to hold the smile on my face, I found it very difficult to think of anything negative. If a negative thought was able to come to mind, I either dismissed it very quickly or just laughed it off. I’ve had other people try this as well. Some were even skeptical at first, but they soon realized the truth and power of this scenario.

What’s the lesson in this? Simply, the more we smile the more positive our mindset will be. The more positive our mindset, the greater our chances of success. Also, when we demonstrate a positive attitude and a positive mindset, it’s contagious. Other people notice. It rubs off on them.

It is amazing how a simple smile can snowball into major positivity and success in all areas of our life. Is it that difficult to do? I really don’t think so. Yes, sometimes circumstances get in the way and make it difficult. But don’t let them. Even in the worst of times we can find things to smile about. If you do, things can turn positive in a hurry.

I strongly recommend you try this wonderful experiment. Whenever you can, smile. Dare the negative thoughts to enter your mind as you realize more and more they have no power over you. It’s a simple fact..when you smile at life, life smiles at you. Enjoy the blessings : )


How To Be In Demand

October 10, 2011

Are you ready to re-live an elementary school moment? For some of you this might be a pleasant memory, for others it may not. It’s about choosing sides. In my day, whether it was kickball, football, or any team sport, there were two captains who chose teams. It was an honor to be chosen first. It felt good to be wanted. Not that I would know, because I would usually be chosen later, almost at the end. That wasn’t such a good feeling as it hurt to know that I wasn’t wanted or needed.

This does not change in the adult world. We feel great when we are in-demand and people want us and our contributions, while we feel hurt, discouraged, and un-wanted when people are not calling on us. The big question is then, is there a way we can control this? If so, what can we do so we are the ones people want to be with, people want to hire, people want to assist them?

The answer to the above question is yes. I’ve read this information in several books and articles lately, and it has become very obvious to me. The key to being a “in-demand” person is to do this…know what people want and show them how to get it. It’s as simple as that. So simple that I will say it again…know what people want and either get them there or show them the way to succeed.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to determine how true this is. Think about it in your own life. If someone can bring you closer to achieving your goals and help your dreams come true, aren’t you attracted to that person? Wouldn’t you want to spend as much time as possible with that person? I see it in many areas of my life. I wanted to feel¬†loved and be happy. I was lucky enough to have parents that were good at that, so I loved to spend time with them. I still do today.

I would like to remind you that you could easily be an in-demand person. You can be someone that many people want to spend time with. Also, if you follow the simple guideline of knowing what people want and showing them how to get it, the level of success you can achieve is without limit. For example, let’s say you are seeking the right job. On your next interview focus less on your achievements, and discuss more how you can help the company reach their goals. Know what those goals are and tell your prospective employers what you can do to help them get there. You will have a major advantage over the other interviewers. You will never be short of friends or signifcant others if you can be a person that can help them realize their life goals.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what people need. What then?You don’t have to do a whole lot. Anyone likes to smile or laugh right? Even a few words to put a smile on someone’s face can do wonders. Don’t you like to be with people who can do that for you? As you get to know people better, then you can better figure out other things that will benefit them and help them there.

This information may seem very simple and easy. Yet it is often un-followed. I can vouch because it has taken me several reminders over a long period of time to help me realize its importance. It is very easy to get caught up in our own lives and think about how¬†things will affect us. As a result, we don’t always think about the needs of others. Since many don’t often take this time, you are at an extreme advantage if you can take the time to help others get to where they want to be. So be the first person picked for the team, job, party, or anything in life. It’s a wonderful feeling you can experience continually. Not only will you be on the team, but you will be a winner as well. Enjoy the blessings : )