Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Smile...

As I entered work today the security guard gave me a big smile, the sort that goes from ear to ear and I returned it. It felt Goooooood! I walked into the offiice and smiled at my boss and colleagues who also smiled. I had a crappy day later on, and just as I was leaving, the same guard was on the gate again and seeing me, he smiled broadly and waved. It instantly made me feel so much better despite the heavy traffic.

It's a simple concept - we all know this, it's not new information but sometimes we need reminding; smile and the whole world smiles with you. My doctor told me that smiling actually lowers your blood pressure too. And what's more it can be proven.

When I was studying for my psychology degree we did a simple experiment linked to body language. We were let loose on the unsuspecting public with one simple order: smile at passers by and record how many smile back. The overwhelming majority smiled back. The second part of the experiment I seem to remember involved following up the smile with a question for directions or asking for direction without smiling first. Of course, more people helped when the apparently hapless lost soul smiled, in fact I got personally escorted across town to the railway station as the person 'was going that way anyway' and had to keep up the pretence by going into the station until the coast was clear.

We also will all have seen those emails that go around telling us it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown. So...it seems odd that if you look around, almost everyone is almost constantly frowning. Driving, shopping, walking along the street, in the supermarket, at work... almost everywhere are people who seem weighed down by their own existence and the trials and tribulations of life.

So smile, even if you don't feel like it. You will feel better and once someone returns that smile, you'll feel better still, and so will they. I did :)

19 comments:

David said...

smiling :-)

kenju said...

Me too.

In repose, my face looks like I'm mad. I don't mean to look that way, but I can't help it. I try to put a slight smile on my face all the time when I'm with others, because if I don't, they think I'm mad about something (or just a grouchy old woman!)

bunnygirl said...

Wise words, and I wish I were better at remembering to smile.

The early '80s were economic hard times here in Texas. A neighbor of ours was laid off and after months of searching for work, he hit upon a solution for how to add meaning to his days. Every morning and evening, he'd stand on his front lawn, smiling and waving to the neighbors. He had a corner lot and there was a stop sign, so we all ended up getting to know him. We looked forward to seeing him, knowing that whatever our frustrations of the day, a friendly face was always waiting.

I don't know what happened to the guy. I was in high school and left home as quick as I could after I graduated. But I do hope the universe rewarded that man for his positive attitude and unique solution to a problem. I have no doubt that not only did he keep our spirits, up, he improved his own.

Kathryn said...

Thank you for this reminder. :)

I love smiling @ people thru the day. Where i live (BB) that is not so hard. But when we go down the hill (to "The OC") it is so much harder. Hardly anyone even makes eye contact, much less see a smile.

I try to smile anyway! :)

Zeus said...

What a great reminder to all of us that a positive mental attitude is infectious...but in a good way! ;)

Melody said...

The security guard to our Villa complex smiles and waves every time we go past. It makes us smile and we always have a bit of a giggle....

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I swear, people think I'm nuts because I'm always smiling -- usually at some private thought (about what Trevor's up to this time, of course).

Either that or they are envious and wish their lives were as great as mine.

But I really think they just use my smiles as another excuse to avoid me.

pink dogwood said...

smiling at you :) - now smile back :)

Sleepypete said...

The girls in the canteen have caught my grin :-) (funny how the ones in the old canteen never did) I think it's led to my sandwiches at lunchtime being bigger than average.

Think I'm missing a special person to grin at. I reckon knowing someone like that makes me take a special effort to "feel good", so when I don't have that incentive, I feel the long term injuries a lot more.

R. Sherman said...

True indeed.

It is difficult sometimes for us to put aside the things which make us grumpy, in order to acknowledge kindness bestowed upon us and pass it along. A smile is the best way to do that.

Cheers.

Gwynne said...

Great advice! As a kid, I never fit in with the "popular" kids and I decided it was all because I didn't smile enough. Once I made a conscious effort to smile, my friends increased. I never made it to "popular" status, but I was much happier!

Dianne said...

I try to do that all the time. I can feel my face - lol - and know it's pulled into a grimace so I relax it

I also love how I can get a rush of good feeling just by being kind to someone else - holding a door, letting someone into traffic, waving at a child

good things to remember

craziequeen said...

I always smile broadly at the guards when entering the site - I know most of them, but still a smile costs nothing and they have a crappy job in the mornings.

cq

rashbre said...

great advice

Bob-kat said...

So do I CQ -he is practically the first to smile back!

Simon said...

Hey there, Bobkat. Netchick sent me. (^_^)

Shephard said...

Couldn't agree more. Great reminder.

Shephard said...

P.S. My last Barcelona post is up.
~S

Robert Ballantyne said...

This is a wonderful essay... and a great truth. Thanks for the reminder.

Oh, Hello, NetChick sent me.

Best wishes... Robert