The Power of a Smile

Staff • January 28, 2016 • No Comments

Would you like to know how you can immediately change someone’s life? I have a fun and simple little secret that is proven:

SMILE!

When we make facial expressions, we’re simply conveying information that can be received, read and interpreted by others. By contracting or expanding our facial muscles in different degrees and combinations, we can produce thousands of different messages about our mental well-being, our personality and mood, our physical health, our credibility and how we view others.

When I began to research this subject, I was fascinated by what I uncovered about the power of a smile. Smiling is not just a universal means of communicating, it’s also a frequent one. More than 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% of us smile less than 5 times a day. In fact, those with the greatest superpowers are actually children, who smile as many as 400 times per day!

Why? Because smiling is naturally contagious and we have a subconscious, innate drive to smile when we see one. This occurs even among strangers when we have no intention to connect or affiliate with the other person. Mimicking a smile and experiencing it physically helps us interpret how genuine a smile is, so that we can understand the real emotional state of the person.

A smile literally has special powers. You can calm fear, insecurity, hurt and anxiety not only in yourself, but in those who are experiencing those feelings. The next time someone is feeling sad, scared, nervous, whatever it may be, smile with them and see how this makes them feel!

British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars; unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure. Now I see why I am attracted to songs about smiling, like Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile”  🙂

If that’s not enough, smiling also makes us look good in the eyes of others. A recent Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.

A smile may be a frown turned upside down, but it is also your greatest ambassador. The smile is viewed across cultures as a sign of friendliness, especially when greeting someone. Frowns, too, are generally recognized as indicating sadness or disapproval.

We don’t even realize that we are frowning or making a face until someone says, “What’s wrong with you?” My mother (that’s her in the picture above) frowns constantly and has no idea that she is. It is not always a reflection of how she feels. It’s a shame too because she’s such a friendly person and has the most beautiful teeth and smile. I may be biased, but I think it’s flawless. When she’s asked about it, she usually unaware. However, since it’s starting to happen so much, she’s become more self-conscious and realizes that it’s a bad habit. I say “bad” because it’s something she does daily that causes her to be misrepresented and misunderstood. Can you relate? Do the expressions on your face reflect how you feel?

When the person you are talking to or the people who surround you are smiling, you can’t help but to smile and feel better, even if it’s short term.

In radio programming, we are taught to put a smile on our face when you speak in front of the microphone. It helps you to sound warm, friendly, and engaging to the masses in your audience. When people listen to your voice over the phone, at work, on a date or at home, how aware are you about the energy that you carry and bring when you show up and speak up?

Someone emailed me an exercise that said, try this today:

Think about someone who you know and think of first when they are down, sad, angry, frustrated, whatever it may be. How attractive are they? Now picture them simply with a smile on their face.

If you took the time to do this exercise, I’m sure you found the smiling version much more attractive, and maybe this even made you feel a happier.

Be cognizant of what will happen to you — how it unlocks your goodness and kindness without ever having to say a word.

If you’re still not convinced that you should smile more everyday, here are a few more benefits:

Smiling Makes You More Attractive!

Research has shown that smiling releases serotonin – a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of happiness and well-being. It’s like a circle of happiness. Smile and you feel happy, you feel happy and you smile. Even when you’re not feeling great, try smiling, genuinely, and see how you feel!

Enhances Relationships!

Smiling is a key ingredient for establishing healthy and genuine friendships. When someone is smiling at you, it indicates that they like you. When someone likes you, what do you think of them? Yep, normally you’re thinking “Wow, I like this person!” Smiling also offers encouragement to the person that you are talking to. Think about it, if someone is smiling at you while you are talking to them, you feel as though they are totally into what you are saying, encouraging you to keep going!

Smiling is also crucial when it comes to first impressions. Smiling when you first meet someone indicates to the other person that you are genuinely happy to see them and that you are a positive person. These impressions will be lasting on the other person so definitely not one to miss!

So now we know that smiling helps:
• you look good and feel good.
• others look good and feel good about you.
• others smile too.

When it comes to the power of smiling, I think it’s fair to say that it’s a strong tool in your Man Whisperer power belt.

Best Selling Author & Producer Deya “Direct” Smith writes and produces commentary for your heart, mind and soul. She is also a producer for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a motivational speaker, actress and social commentator and can be reached at www.Deyadirect.net.

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