Okay, the subject matter I have chosen for this week’s blog may seem a bit fluffy! I mean why should we care about smiling? I spent the majority of my career in the hospitality business where I was on high alert for smiles every time I walked into one of our establishments. We used to say, “When you see someone without a smile, give them yours.” Corny, I know. Our challenge then was getting twenty-somethings to understand the value of a smile.
I believe facial expression is a key component when you are in customer-facing roles. Even in cold-call selling, trainers encourage their trainees to “smile while they dial” because it affects their tone of voice and helps the caller maintain a positive frame of mind. This all made sense intuitively, however, there was little scientific evidence that smiling could make a significant difference for the one providing the smile and/or for the one receiving the smile. Now, the research has been done. The experts have concluded that there are significant benefits to smiling:
11 Science-Backed Benefits of Smiling
- Releases endorphins
- Alleviates stress
- Reduces blood pressure
- Strengthens immune system
- Increases endurance
- Reduces pain
- Boosts mood
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Strengthens relationships
- Relieves anxiety/Correlates to a longer life
* from a blog written by Corey Doane – Mindful Meditation Institute https://mindfulnessmeditationinstitute.org/2021/02/18/11-science-backed-benefits-of-smiling/
Many see smiling simply as an involuntary response to things that bring you joy or inspire laughter. While this is certainly true, it overlooks an important point: Smiling can be a conscious, intentional choice. It appears that whether your smile is genuine or not, it can act on your body and mind in a variety of positive ways, offering benefits for your health, your mood, and even the moods of people around you.
I find this information compelling for a number of reasons. First, there are so many things in life that we can’t control. This is something so simple and it is completely within our control. Also, in today’s crazy, topsy-turvy world there are so many reasons not to smile. Just spend a few minutes people-watching and pay special attention to their facial expressions. I’ve noticed that smiles are few and far between.
Recently I’ve been experimenting with consciously smiling during my day-to-day activities. For example, the drycleaner. I’ve been in there hundreds of times and the woman behind the counter never smiles. I’ve been consciously smiling on my last couple of visits and she actually smiled back at me. If you are skeptical about the smiling thing try this. Next time you are in a tiff with your significant other change your frown to a subtle smile. Don’t be surprised if it has a positive impact on the outcome.
But wait there’s more! This is my favorite… A psychological effect of smiling is that it makes you look and feel younger. Wait! Stop the presses! Say what? Forget the facelift or the tummy tuck. Stop your search for the fountain of youth. Save your money for a trip to Bora Bora. And keep a smile on your beautiful face!