March 09, 2011

Smiling Eyes

Photo by Benjamin Earwicker
This past year I met someone who I never see smile. At first I thought, "Is it me?" It was just so strange to venture upon someone who doesn't smile at all or even acknowledge your existence when you walk by them. I see her several times a week and out of uncomfortableness, and curiosity, I finally turned her into a little observation/research project for myself to try and figure out what is going on.

Well the first thing I discovered is that she doesn't smile at anyone. Whew! As I am new to the group that we're both in, this came as a relief. Anyway, I'll spare you all my research details but she got me thinking about smiling in general and what the benefits are of showing our pearly whites- and the drawback of not showing them. Some of these are very obvious but they're still worth mentioning I think:

  • Humans are drawn to people who smile. It is a great connector. Smiling is contagious.
  • Smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you. It makes us feel the way chocolate does when we eat it :-)
  • Smiling is good for our immune system because it relaxes us. Smiling helps to reduce stress because it lowers our blood pressure. Try smiling when you are stressed and notice how much better your feel.
  • Smiling is a natural drug. When we smile we release natural pain killers, endorphins and serotonin which automatically change our mood.
  • Smiling can improve our confidence, help us make friends, and help us to succeed in our lives. It also enhances other people's perception of us. Smiling people are more likely to be promoted.
  • Smiling is a great instant face lift.  
  • Smiling helps us stay positive. Try this test: Smile. Now think of something negative without losing your smile. It's very hard to do. Smiling helps us stay away from depression, stress and worry. 

Deepak Chopra talks about giving each person you encounter a small gift. I think giving a smile is a good idea. Just think- you get to give a gift and get one at the same time. :-)