Why is smiling important? It may seem like a trivial facial expression. But a smile can make a positive difference. Indeed, I heard that it has saved people’s lives. A young man was walking to the store to buy the means to kill himself. At the crosswalk, a woman rolled down her window and smiled. She said something as simple as “Make yourself a wonderful day, young man.” He changed his mind about his plan.
We can choose to smile. As I say in my presentations, “We, humans, have a choice to smile or not. Glow worms don’t. They forever smile.” Here is a fun, smile-inducing ditty to remember:
Oh, I wish I were a glow worm, a glow worm’s never glum.
‘Cause how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum?”
The Hidden Power of Smiling
Ron Gutman, Founder, and CEO of Health Tap and a Ted Talks delivers a talk called, The Hidden Power of Smiling. Here are some of his statistics and findings:
- More than one-third of us smile more than 20 times a day.
- Fourteen percent of us smile less than five times a day.
- Children have reported smiling up to 400 times a day.
- A Swedish research project concluded it was hard to frown when facing someone who is smiling.
- Darwin hypothesized that smiling helps us feel happy.
- Recent research concluded that one smile can generate the same brain stimulation as 2000 bars of chocolate or receiving $25,000.
- Smiling reduces your stress-inducing hormones.
- When you smile, you appear to be more likable and competent.
If you are not one of the over 4,500,00 people who has already watched Gutman’s talk click here.
Gutman didn’t mention that women smile more than men. Yale professor, Marianne LaFrance reports, “When occupying similar work and social roles, the gender differences in the rate of smiling disappear.” Does that mean that men smile more when they take up child-care, nursing and other forms of caregiving? What I do know is my mother used to tell me, “Smile dear. It will improve your face value” and she didn’t say that to my three brothers. Maybe smiling is the reason I am the healthiest in our family.
Often too, I smile in gratitude. Smiling and appreciation go together.
The other piece I know is that people like smilers and feel safer around them. “I will never understand the good that a simple smile can accomplish.”” said Mother Teresa
You might be ready to go rogue on me thinking “But I am not about to be a phony!” Whoa! I am not talking about smiling through pain, sorrow, grief, loss, fear, and anger. I am not talking about a forced smile. I am not saying “Always smile!” I am suggesting that when feeling happy, joyful, appreciated or merely pleased, that you allow your face to light up with a smile. It is like the old joke, “So you say you feel happy. How about telling your face?” When you experience uplifting, lighter and pleasant feelings, share that with those around you. Smile through your eyes. Smile through your warm heart. That is what I am to do!
What are your thoughts, feelings, beliefs about smiling?
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