September 30th, 2012 - 10:05 PM
…”Cause when you worry your face will frown and that will bring everybody down so don’t worry, be happy”…these wonderful lyrics by Bobby McFerrin (Don’t Worry, Be Happy) remind us of the impact our facial expressions have on ourselves and others. There’s been numerous studies on the power of the smile. A Penn State study revealed that smiling makes a person more likeable and appear more competent. Well, it may not have taken a study for us to accept this but it is also reported that smiling reduces stress-enhancing hormones and, therefore, benefits our overall well-being and longevity. Even practicing an unauthentic smile, is reported to make positive improvements on one’s emotional state so when we feel down even practicing a fake smile may have an uplifting effect.
There were various articles online that reported that children smile up to 400 times a day. Their love for life and enthusiasm for experiences is mirrored by their positive disposition. It seems evident, however, that adults, with their numerous social responsibilities have a tougher time smiling as much (a report by Ron Gutman, Founder and CEO of HealthTap, states that more than 30% of adults smile more than 20 times a day). According to the beneficial effects of smiling on our health, career, love life and longevity, it behooves us to make a daily effort to improve our smiling quotient.
Being grateful for what we do have, instead of focusing on all that we don’t have, helps. Also, being mindful of others and smiling at them, or sharing a kind word helps one’s self, as well as the community in which one participates. We can actually hear smiles over the phone, see smiles on dogs and it has also been studied that infants not only frequently smile in their sleep but they smile in the womb. A smile is understood by everyone as a positive gesture, despite their culture. It is a universal expression because it is an expression innate to our very species.
Understanding the power of the smile makes it a no-brainer to use it as a Life tool. We can use it on ourselves and we can use it on others. Mother Theresa said, “I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish,” and Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Make a daily effort to include positivity and smiling into your lifestyle, just as you would a healthy diet or exercise. Shaboo dares you to take it even a step further by sharing your smile and joy with others. Hand-written notes of encouragement, congratulations and warmth can help improve the world.