How great is it that we’ve designated June National Smile Month?
Of course, we want to endeavor to smile all throughout the year. I think that this month is mostly about dentists getting their air time to talk about why we want to take great care of our teeth. Yes, I believe that oral health is absolutely tied to your overall health, but I’d like to highlight some of the general and powerful wellness aspects of smiling.
In fact, I’d like to share with you some of the superpowers you can activate just by the mere act of smiling.
Superpower #1: Smiling makes you look better. Putting a smile on your face makes people see you differently. With a smile, you are viewed as more attractive, reliable, relaxed, and sincere.
Superpower #2: Smiling makes you sound better. When I used to interview people in a radio station for a wellness show, I always asked them to smile when they talked. Believe me, you can hear it over the air! The same goes for my work in podcasting today. You sound more approachable and less nervous if you speak with a smile.
Superpower #3: Smiling makes you a better partner, family member, and community member. You are rewarding others and yourself when you smile. Because smiling is contagious (thanks to mirror neurons), others around you are likely to smile back.
Smiling is part of important body language that affects you and those around you, but it’s not the only way we can impact how the world perceives us. Dr. Amy Cuddy, who is on the faculty at Harvard Business School and is a researcher of nonverbal behavior, advocates assuming dominant positioning before and during a meeting or talk to give yourself more power and influence. Wonder Woman was onto something when she assumed the wide-legged, proud stance with arms bent and hands-on-hips! There’s evidence that the Wonder Woman pose actually reduces your levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and raises your level of testosterone (a hormone related to strength).
I highly recommend any of Shawn Achor’s books (especially The Happiness Advantage) if you are interested in all of the scientific research around positive psychology and smiling.
Try it- what have you got to lose with so much to gain? By smiling, you release feel-good chemicals in your brain, feel more confident, project a more pleasant voice, and activate reward centers in the brains of those around you. It is always a win-win to smile.
Mini-Mantra: Put on a Smile; It Never Goes Out of Style