The Cleveland Clinic has published an interesting piece on the benefits of smiling (http://my.clevelandclinic.org/giving/news-events/publications/catalyst_e_news/archive/2014/01-benefits-of-smiling.aspx). They claim that a smile – whether it is forced or genuine – has the potential to:
- Change our mood
- Be contagious
- Relieve stress
- Boost the immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Release endorphins (the feel-good hormone)
- Help us stay positive
They go on to report that smiling can help us to make better food choices, resulting in trimmer and stronger bodies. (http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/DailyDose/archive/2014/05/08/Daily-Wellness-Tip-05-08-14.aspx)
Other researchers document that although different cultures smile more or less frequently than others and that smiles are wider in some groups than in others, all humans (and some animals) smile when they are happy. Smiling is something we do without being taught. One study noted that blind athletes smile when they win an event even though they have never seen another person smile.
Just as smiling makes us happier, our smile promotes happiness in others. Amazing — We can improve our lives and the lives of others by exercising those very small muscles near our mouths and eyes. (OK, Tyra Banks, you are right. Smiling with our eyes, or “smizing”, does improve our looks!) What a simple thing for a leader to do at absolutely no cost and at no risk.
So, what message do you want to send? Do you want your next encounter with another person to be pleasant? Do you want to be seen by both men and women as helpful, capable, and interested? Do you want to be happier? Try smiling.
This is probably the cheapest and easiest way to improve our communications with others. It isn’t the most effective communication strategy that we can work on, but let’s take one small step at a time!
“When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.” Job 29:24