I will never understand all the good that a simple smile can accomplish. ― Mother Teresa
In today’s world, people are seemingly more miserable. Bills are high, family is far away, and there simply isn’t time to enjoy life. In short, life is tough. The number of people claiming loneliness, anxiety, and depression are exponentially rising.
Frustrating isn’t it?
Experts are saying it might have a lot to do with the amount of time we spend with technology. Because we’re constantly comparing the lives of others to our own.
BUT! There is a way to be happier– without the drugs. From the way society conducts itself, the consensus holds: smiling is underrated.
Achieving Happiness comes with a smile.
It’s easy to go through life thinking that unless “I’m feeling” happy or motivated, it’ll never come. The truth is happiness doesn’t always hit you in the face. Happiness is nothing like Tinkerbell’s fairy dust.
You’ve got to go look for it. It sounds ludicrous, but you can set yourself up for it.
As a musician, no one wakes up and suddenly says, “I can’t wait to practice!” Music is a daunting task that just never seems to have an end.
I remember having to force myself to wake up at 6 to get to school by 7AM. By the time I arrived, I realized I really didn’t want to be there. It would have been much more pleasing to sleep in.
But things didn’t stay that way.
Even if I started with a bad mood, I noticed that as I began to work I would light up and I’d forget my lack of desire.
Same thing happens with a lack of happiness.
If you’re in a bind, just take a moment to pause and reflect on good things that make you happy. For me, that would be riding a bike in the Netherlands or having a baguette. Everyone has those few things that make them instantly light up.
Don’t forget to smile.
Who would Mr. Rogers be without his smile?
Smiles change everything. Smiling more adds hours to your life and gives you better health.
Maybe this sounds a bit corny, and a bit forced. Even if you don’t feel like it, molding your face into a smile will reduce stress levels! Sometimes you just gotta force things and once you open that door in your heart, the rest will follow.
Ron Gutman realized the power of smiles and compiled research to present a TED Talk examining the Hidden Power of Smiling.
The Hidden Power of Smiling
Smiling is simply contagious and it’s free!
Paul Ekman a renown researcher of human facial expressions found that even in remote tribes in Papua New Guinea, a smile is the same!
This is data from an indigenous tribe without Western contact but with cannibalistic rituals!
He also asked them to make facial expressions and showed them pictures of their Western counterparts. They were able to successfully decipher emotions without a sweat.
Longer Life Anyone?
Ron Gutman presents data suggesting that smiles lead to a longer life according to various studies. Baseball players with no smile lived an average of 72.9 years as opposed to a beaming smile with an average age of 79.9 years! That’s not a small difference.
He also attributes a good prediction of success based on smiles. It seems however that Donald Trump is the only anomaly. Ignoring his or my political views, the man simply does NOT know how to smile.
If you have more questions, here’s the written version of the Ted Talk by Ron Gutman.
A Smile is Disarming
You might remember the above phrase from Loving Out Loud Through Conversation. It was definitely something I believed with my heart, but now I have scientific evidence to back me! There is evidence that emotions are contagious so, spread your good vibes around!
If you meet me in person, you probably will notice that I can’t stop smiling.
It’s not because I never get stressed or frustrated, but life is too short to stay that way. We got to live our lives loving out loud if we’re going to make a dent in history.
Manners Are a Good Thing
I always say this, but as a New Yorker, it wasn’t easy. I actually learned my manners from living in Europe.
In New York, you only talk to who you need to, and only then. Like at the cash register. There’s no point in bothering to talk to people because they are of no benefit to you and vice versa. It’s a really dark way to think, but it’s the mentality.
Luckily with influences from outside things are changing.
In Europe, whenever you walk into a store, a greeting is always given as well as when leaving. Telling people to have a nice day and meaning it is normal. I know that this is done in the rest of the states, but often times it can feel really empty and superficial.
Maybe you already have good manners and say nice things, that’s great. If not, that’s why we’re here.
The secret is, to not say the same thing everyone else says. Say something different, unique, and with a flair.
Why? That’s too much work.
If you say it in your way, they’ll know you meant it.
24 Ways to Make it Happen
Remember that one of the greatest things about smiles and happiness is that they’re contagious. When we make the first move and give out happiness, we will receive it in return.
In the examples below observe a tiny but important detail– all it takes to make someone smile is adding a special adjective! Do note that because wording is important, there will be a lot of variations on a theme.
There’s one more secret. Don’t just say the counter culture sentences. It’s always good to set it up. Use filler exclamations like you know, whoa, do you, man, I don’t know if you know this, did you notice… etc.
If you say things straight, it’ll come off as forced, out of the blue, and be like a pizza without any toppings.
Maybe you like it that way, but pepperoni is always nice.
When meeting people:
In addition to the 5 Sure Fire conversations, you can always use these to make people feel good.
- Whoa! Look at you! You look great/stunning today!
- You look nice/gorgeous/dazzling/snazzy today!
- Man, it’s been TOO long! I’m really glad to see you! Just made my day!
- You look like a person with a story!
- Look who’s here everyone, the party’s just arrived!
When Sending Friends Random Messages/Hanging out:
- I just wanted to let you know you’re **(insert adjective)**
- Hope you’re thriving this week! (Stolen from a friend).
- Thanks for never getting tired of me and your constant friendship.
- You’re always so positive! I really appreciate that about you!
- Can I give you a hug? (Don’t wait.)
- You’re such a great listener and I appreciate that about you.
- I love that you’re always **(insert adjective)**
- I really value the time we spend together.
- You remind me that everything’s going to be ok.
- I don’t know if you know this, but you’re a breath of fresh air.
- Dang man, you’re so thoughtful! How do you do it?
- I really like that you always seem sure of what you’re doing.
- I really appreciate you taking the time to be my friend.
- Just wanted to say I’m honored to be your…
When Saying Goodbye:
- Have a splendid day! (You can replace with “mammoth of a day,” tremendous, or whatever adjective of your choice.)
- Thank you for working here. We need **(Insert adjective)** people like you! Possible adjectives are hard-working, integrity, capable, compassionate etc.
- Variation of above: Thank you for doing your job. It’s important! (This is great for janitors and people doing “mundane” jobs. Imagine seeing hundreds of people every day and not talking to any of them.
- Hey, (before I go) I got a joke for you!
- Keep that smile going! Don’t ever lose it!
Smiles = Happiness
Go outside, look to the left, look to the right, look in front of you, you got three choices! -Bob Goff
I get it.
Saying mushy things isn’t up your alley, “there’s got to be another way!” Before giving up, I would give it a try. People are so depressed because they feel no one believes in them and accepts them.
That’s probably why we’re constantly searching for happiness. But in our search for it, there is a very important ingredient. The “L” word.
Love is a verb which means it’s an action, and it’s intoxicating.
The best part is the very tool we use to spread it is something we cannot forget at home! As we’ve discussed this whole article, it’s your smile.
Now go and see the impact your smile will have on others! No drugs necessary.
Hope this article can be of use to your social vocabulary. Let me know your thoughts and how I can be of any help down in the comments below!