“Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds.” – Dale Carnegie
As I write this article, I am on my way to Santa Barbara, California for a weekend hanging out on some of the best beaches this country has to offer, while also listening to “ABC” by the Jackson 5. It’s pretty damn hard to not smile: I excited for a great weekend, doing something I love (writing), and rockin’ out. All is well.
Right now, it is a natural reaction to crack a smile. In fact, it feels weird not to. Think of the last time you were so happy that you couldn’t stop smiling, even if you wanted to. It could have been a concert of your favorite band at a beautiful venue, when you met someone truly incredible, or when you had your favorite food in the entire world. It doesn’t matter what the instance was, just think back to it.
Now, at any point, do you consciously remembering pausing and thinking to yourself: “OK, now: smile!”? The odds are you probably didn’t. It was a natural reaction. When you feel joy, you smile. It is a consequence of positive emotion, an outward signal to other humans broadcasting your contentment and pleasure.
So, what if I told you that you could reverse this process and achieve incredible results. Well, research has shown it is possible. Consciously taking time to smile can help set yourself on a positive emotional track. The benefits include an improved immune system, reduced stress and blood pressure, and improved interactions along with countless others.
Theory is great, don’t get me wrong, but what do you do when you feel like a punching bag that went 15 rounds with Mayweather and you flat out do not want to smile? Life is filled with ups and downs, unexpected things will happen, but here are a few of my tips for facing negative energy head on and finding a way to turn it around:
- Accept it; what you resist persists. Don’t lie to yourself, understand you don’t feel at your peak, but acknowledge that you won’t stay in this state forever.
- Meditate, if you can. Find at least 5 minutes to yourself to clear your head through traditional meditation practice.
- Think of a time you felt amazing. One of the above mentioned scenarios is a good go to. Try to vividly remember the emotions you felt and the body language you exhibited during this time, then emulate it.
- Last, but not least, smile! Look in a mirror and smile at yourself. Make sure it is a genuine smile and wear it all day. Set reminders on your phone if you have to, but constantly make sure you are rocking a smile throughout your day.
Think of the most amazing, charismatic people you know. What is one thing they all (probably) have in common? They smile. That down to earth executive that goes out of their way to ask how you’re doing: smiling. That professor that takes the extra minute to explain a difficult concept to you: rocking a smile. That customer service representative that made your day: big ol’ smile.
I understand that these interactions have many more components than just a simple, genuine smile. The point however, is that smiling can be the foundation of a positive interaction. Prior to an interaction, your mood and demeanor is often judged by your outward appearance. Clothing, body language, and facial expressions are very important prior to conversation. Don’t you want to make a great first impression?
Today, do yourself a favor: make an effort to smile more. Who knows who you’ll meet or what the boost in positive energy will bring to your day. It is a habit worth building.
Published 7/2/2015 at 5:11 PM PST in sunny, Santa Barbara