Smiling is a wonderful way of expressing to others that we are happy. It is not something we typically consciously think about doing, it is just the outcome of a positive experience resulting in a physical display of emotion. This not only has a flow on effect on us physically and mentally but can also influence others into smiling too. Bonus!
What is interesting about smiling that I would like to point out in this blog is that faking it works just as well as the real thing.
Every time we smile our brain is chalking up another confirmation that we are not thinking negatively and these accumulate over time, just as continuous negative thoughts would result in the opposite. So even if you are not having a positive thought, the physical process of cracking out a smile actually overrides and still gets that chalk on the board. A great example of this occurring is when hours are spent surfing or sailing and after the activity stops the brain continues to think you are moving and seeing waves. Wouldn’t it be great if our brain kept on seeing perfect smiles rolling over the horizon?
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One study has found that those who smile on a more consistent basis appear to others to be more competent, likeable and courteous. Whether it is in a workplace, at home or just walking down the street, it seems to me that this would be a really good way of portraying yourself to others. If your business relies on you meeting others, a smile will go a long way in those first seconds of a meeting.
The other big bonus of smiling is it releases tension in your body. Unless you are sipping pina coladas under a palm tree on a remote island somewhere, then the odds are you are living in this world full of mostly unavoidable stress and tension. What is interesting is that the release of tension through the art of smiling can actually make your cells let go of their rigidness. Just as we have trillions of bacteria living in our gut working all their magic, we also have trillions of human cells that are all working together to keep us physically moving through our days. So, just as we have been discussing the need to care for the microbiome in our gut, it is just as important to look after the human cells, allowing them to stay fluid and efficient. The simple art of smiling is a great starting point.
So what do we all need to start doing off the back of reading this beautiful blog? Just smile. If you currently spend time meditating then you may already be practicing this but for those who don’t just try curling up the corners of your mouth whenever you remember to. Sit down on the train, plug your devices into your ears and start to smile. Head into a meeting you don’t want to be in, sit down and smile. Walking home from work or taking the dog out, smile. Lying in bed just before you go to sleep or just after opening your eyes, smile. Just keep practicing it and you will find it easier each time and probably that others around you will be joining in.
We are not going to be here forever so Live Life Gutsy and Smile, remember it is free and contagious.
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