31003853_sI decided a few years ago that I wanted to be the kind of person that chooses happiness. I realized, finally, that my emotions were my own responsibility and that whether or not I could control my circumstances and what was happening around me, I do have the power to manage what I am feeling. It’s not always the easy choice. And in all honesty, it is sometimes a challenge. But, for the most part, a smile is what you will see on my face because I know that it helps me shake off the negativity and feel better. So, for the tough times that life throws at you here are some things to keep in mind about the power of your beautiful smile.

  1. Research has proven that when you smile others find you more confident and attractive. When you present yourself with an engaging smile, you draw others to you like a magnet. Everyone wants to be around the person with uplifting energy, not someone who is constantly frowning and looks like their whole world is always crap. People want to be lifted up and feel better, not worse. So if it looks like you brought the party with you, then the party will follow you wherever you go. If you’re a serious person (like me) smiling makes you seem more approachable and sociable.
  2. Smiles are contagious. When you acknowledge people and smile at them, they can’t help but smile back. Everyone likes to be acknowledged…why NOT be the one to start the trend! We are built to smile back…so flash those pearly whites and make someone’s day! Don’t take yourself so seriously…you’re missing out on a lot of fun.
  3. Releases ‘feel good’ hormones and represses stress hormones. When you smile, your body releases the same hormone that gives chocolate its ‘feel good’ response to your brain. Only a smile is up to 2000 times as powerful as a bar of chocolate (but without the calories). Smiling also reduces stress-inducing hormones like cortisol and increases mood-enhancing hormones like serotonin. This can lead to reduced stress and lower your blood pressure.
  4. Smiles make the difficult stuff more bearable. When challenging situations happen (and they will happen) you have the choice about whether to slide down the rabbit hole of negativity or smile anyway. I shared with you our recent cross-country move to San Diego and the multitude of things that went wrong on the trip. I could have easily caved under the weight of the constant barrage of obstacles I had to deal with. Not a single thing went as planned. But, I believe my commitment to staying positive and my faith in what was possible helped me keep smiling and stay cheerful. Staying positive and smiling helped make the situation much more bearable.
  5. The more you do it, the easier it gets to do it often! Practice until smiling becomes a new habit. Our brain’s natural tendency is to think negatively as a defense mechanism. In order to lay a new foundation of neurotransmitters and retrain your brain, you must practice smiling more frequently. Our thoughts influence our feelings, which then influence our behavior (action). If you find yourself feeling sad, angry, depressed, confused, or just out of sorts for whatever reason, I challenge you to find something worth smiling about anyway. Think of things that you are grateful for. Visit friends and family. Watch a funny movie or listen to a comedian. Volunteer at a park, hang out in nature. Visit your local animal shelter and pour some love into some deserving but neglected pets. Just do something you know will turn that frown upside down and your feelings and behavior WILL follow.

Deal with life head on, hold your head up high, stand tall, walk with purpose, look people in the eye, and give them your best 1,000-watt dazzler. Smiling more has made such a huge difference for me in how I interact with people as well as how I feel daily. Try it and let me know the impact it has for you.