Benefits of Smiling as a Practice

October is Positive Attitude Month and October 10th is World Mental Health Day, so focusing content on the Benefits of Smiling this month seems fitting. There are many ways we can practice a positive attitude and smiling has proven to be an effective mood booster even when you’re faking one. Practicing smiling may not seem intuitive because we think that it only happens naturally, but by doing it more often it becomes more natural.

Practicing Smiling

Last year, at a conference I noticed how the leaders in the room were always smiling. This was quite different than my typical look, so I decided to try to intentionally put a smile on my face. I started small with a simple uptick of the corners of my lips and the practice grew from there. Through intentionally practicing smiling throughout the last year I have noticed:

  • When I smile at the world, the world smiles back. It’s contagious.
  • The more I practice smiling, the more I find myself with a smile on my face.
  • It elevates my thoughts and mindset, creating more joy.

When I practice smiling, I often think more positive thoughts, remember happy memories, and sing in my head because I don’t want my smile to appear fake, which also improves my mood and takes some of the pressure off the actual act of practicing a smile.

Social interactions are enhanced when a mutual smile is exchanged. Whenever I am handed a receipt, I try to thank the person with a smile and more often than not I receive a smile back. It leaves both of us with a positive experience. I also seem to be more approachable when practicing smiling. I have had way more people approach me and ask me questions or for help since I started to practice smiling.

It can be uncomfortable to practice the act of smiling and you may feel a little ridiculous, but research has shown that faking a smile (even going to the lengths of holding a chopstick in our teeth) still has positive effects on your brain and mood, so a positive attitude will be an outcome either way.

Other benefits I have read about include appearing more attractive, reducing stress, releasing serotonin, lowering blood pressure, and boosting the immune system. 

This year World Mental Health Day is focusing on Mental Health in the Workplace, so I encourage you at a minimum on October 10th or for the whole month to practice a little smiling at work and see if it improves your mindset at work or your interactions with colleagues. I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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