I’m a smiler. It’s not something I do consciously. My resting face is a smile. Those who know me well, however, know to look at my eyes to see if my smile is genuine. Despite that, all my life I’ve gotten compliments on my smile – how it makes people feel welcome, etc. I’ve gotten more comfortable hearing them as I’ve gotten older. In that process, I’ve realized there are many reasons to smile and “being happy” isn’t even on the list!
1. Smiling Makes You Happy
Yes, your read that right. Just like laughing actually helps a body heal and elevates mood, smiling activates muscles in your face that trigger a response in your brain. It may not solve all your problems, but smiling through a challenge can certainly help you adopt a “can do” mindset and get through any challenge with a more positive perspective.
2. It Alters Others’ Perceptions of You
When you walk around with a smile, others smile back. They see you as friendly and welcoming. You project kindness. I know from personal experience what a difference this can make. When I was a newly licensed teenager, I was asked to pick my grandparents up from the bus station when they returned from a trip. I arrived early since we didn’t have flight tracking information readily available. If their flight was on time, they’d catch one bus and arrive at one time – so that’s what I shot for.
While I was waiting for them to arrive, I was looking around the bus depot. My eyes kept returning to a little girl who clearly had some special needs and her dad. I gave her a big smile and went back to people watching while I waited. She lit up light a bright bulb in the dark! The person they were waiting for arrived and they left. On their way out, the father made a point of stopping by me and commenting on my welcoming smile.
I had the feeling that he was used to people judging his daughter and she was used to feeling rejected and put down. As someone who got teased A LOT, I could relate. It made me feel amazing to bring such love and positivity to their lives with something as simple as a smile!
3. It’s Easier
Literally. Smiling uses fewer face muscles than frowning. It’s more relaxing for your face to smile – try it, you’ll see! It doesn’t hurt. I promise. And you might just find yourself feeling happier too.
4. It Keeps You Looking Younger
Because smiling uses fewer muscles, the more often you smile, the fewer wrinkles you’ll get. And not just around your mouth. Smiling also means fewer crow’s feet around the eyes and nose.
5. It Makes You Prettier
I’m not one for makeup and adornment. I do make sure to add a smile to my attire every day. The way I see it, when you’ve got a smile on your face, you look beautiful, right from the bottom of your soul. Why put chemicals and such on my face when I can let my natural beauty shine through with a smile?
Given all the great reasons there are to smile every day, I’d like to issue you a challenge. Try smiling every day, at every one you see, for a week. Watch what happens – how your interactions change, how your sense of self changes. You may be surprised at the results.