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What if you already owned one of the easiest tools to make almost any stress your ally?

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Would you use it more often? Would you help other people with it?

Fortunately, most people naturally use this tool. Unfortunately, most of us may not understand the extent of the power of that tool. Here are only a few of the words that are used to describe it: affectionate, disarming, broad, dazzling, weak, radiant, welcoming, captivating, friendly, reluctant, and many more. Now do you know? If not, here are two more phrases that can describe it: Mona Lisa, and the Cheshire Cat.

Think . . smile!! So simple, so easy to use, and yet so powerful in changing your stress into your ally.

In general, we have two types of smiles: the genuine smile which results when something causes us to spontaneously start laughing or smiling. We don’t think, “Hmm, I guess I should be laughing at this.” It just happens automatically.

When this natural, genuine smile happens, two events take place in our body:

  1. Smiling stimulates neural connections which lead to stress reduction.

  2. Smiling also causes a surge in the mood boosting endorphin, dopamine and serotonin that lead to feelings of happiness.

The second type of smile is when we consciously “choose” to smile. Do we get the same effects? Based on the 1993 research conducted by Paul Ekman and Richard Davidson, the answer is a resounding yes! Their research paved the way for future research that supports the fact that, even if we are not in a particularly happy mood or are feeling angry, making a conscious decision to choose to smile releases the same two events listed above.

This is the smile we choose to use. We choose to use it on ourselves in negative situations. We choose to use it to comfort someone who is sad or hurt. We can use it to defuse a potentially negative interaction.

Five Benefits to You When You Smile

  1. Lowers stress.

  2. Improves your mood, energy, and overall health.

  3. Slows your body’s heart rate.

  4. Decreases blood pressure.

  5. Boosts the immune system.

Five Benefits To Other People When You Smile at Them

  1. Simply stated: They get the same benefits as you, even if it’s just for a moment! Now that is a big win-win just waiting to happen!!

Three things you can do to turn negative energy into positive energy for yourself and others

  1. Smile (outwardly and/or inwardly) to yourself when you are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or stressed.

  2. Follow Yoko Ono’s example: “Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you'll start to see a big difference in your life.”

  3. This one is a “double-dog dare” to you: Smile at strangers coming towards you on the street, in a store, on the bus . . . anywhere. A few will look away wondering who you are or what you are up to. Some will take a second look and then give you a big smile back. But I have found that most people just naturally smile as soon as they see yours. Remember, it’s contagious!

So . . . you can frown or you can smile. The only decision you really have to make is ”when” you are going to start smiling, at yourself and at others!


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