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When you’re smiling!

“Smile, it’s the key that opens the lock on everyone’s heart.”

Anthony J. D’Angelo

Back from Florida before Hurricane Wilma, I asked my teenage son what he thought I should write about right now and he said ‘doughnuts.’ I explained to him that while I found the topic intriguing (my mind immediately jumped to how I could tie this into an interesting piece), it really needed to be more relevant to what I do, not what he would like to be doing! So his next suggestion was ‘Smiling’.

I almost dismissed this until I remembered that while working on the fourth module of my e-course today, the topic of smiling had come up. It was in the context of self-confidence and how to develop it, in this case meeting people with a smile and a friendly attitude to engage and interest them. By asking people about themselves and really listening to their answers with a smile, not only will they feel comfortable and pleased to be around you, but their confidence will grow with each encounter. You will be remembered as much for your smile as for who you are and what you do. As long as the smile is genuine and you use eye contact, you will come across as friendly, approachable, and confident. Smiling is such a powerful tool.

I couldn’t leave it at that, so I did a Google search and found the following:

More facts about smiling

o A smile is a universal expression of happiness and recognized as such by all cultures

o A smile is the most used facial expression. It takes as few as five pairs of facial muscles and as many as 53 to smile.

o Regardless of the precise number of muscles used, smiling causes far fewer muscles to contract and expand than frowning

o Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better

o Even ‘faking’ a smile can lead to feeling happy

o People are born with the ability to smile (They do not copy the expression, even babies born blind smile)

o Babies reserve special smiles (Duchenne smiles of joy and happiness) for their loved ones

o A newborn shows a preference for a smiling face over a non-smiling face

o Women smile more than men

o Younger people smile more than older people. American men with high testosterone smile the least.

o There are 18 different types of smile that are used in a variety of social situations

o Humans can differentiate between the ‘felt’ (Duchenne) smile (of joy and happiness) and the social smile – ‘it’s in the eyes’ (literally)

o A smiling person is considered to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable and competent than a person who does not smile.

o A person who studies laughter is called a ‘gelotologist’


Can smiling help you move forward? Do you lack confidence and are you afraid of being noticed? Practice smiling. Think about what you can ask people about themselves and take some notes. Try it out with a trusted family member, friend, or colleague. Think of those people who seem to always have a smile and a word for others. How do they make you feel? You can be like that too.

You can choose to be permanently grumpy or you can choose to perk up and smile! Have you been putting off smiles? By smiling, you will release endorphins in your brain that will make you feel better (see above). You can even trick your brain into thinking that you feel good with that smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it yet. Do it long enough and you won’t have to fake it.

One of my favorite exercises is to have a ‘Smile Day’. From the moment I wake up I decide that I am going to smile at everyone I see. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not, I will still smile and often say ‘Hello’. It’s amazing how many people will smile back at you. Sometimes you don’t get one in return, but most people are happy to give it back to you. At the end of the day I am much happier and more positive than when I started.

What makes you happy? What do you like to do? Where can you include more of this in your life?

Try to smile at at least one stranger every day. For the less confident, this could be a challenge, but you can do it!

Happiness comes from many sources, including creative expression. What are you going to do this week to express yourself? I have planned a full day of crafting as I have been leaving it in the backseat for quite some time. You don’t need to commit to a whole day, just as much as you can.

A smile costs nothing, however it brings great wealth to those who receive it

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