Is Smiling Good for You?

For some reason there have been a few articles about smiling recently. We all do it from time to time (don’t we?), but for most of us a smile isn’t our natural – or first choice – expression.

A Smile Will Win Over Anyone?

One  article I nearly didn’t read was a article entitled “physician job search tips“, which isn’t an arresting title for non physicians.

However, as the author had used a “smilie” to illustrate his “tip seven” it caught my eye:-

“Enthusiasm. Bring an absolutely positive attitude without being too familiar. Negativism is not allowed. Sell yourself. The difference between bragging and self confidence is enthusiasm.
Smile. A genuine heart warming smile can win over anyone…whether you interview for physician jobs or not.”

The difference between bragging (or arrogance?)  and self confidence is enthusiasm? I think there is a lot of truth in that. And the advice, like most  of of the other tips, applies whether you are going for a job interview or going into work at a job you’ve been doing for many years.

So much of self confidence comes through our body language and attitude. If you look sharp, you can feel sharp. And as the article says:-

“erect posture shows confidence.”

But can a “heart warming smile” win over anyone? Is that in itself the most important aspect of body language to get right. In one of my very early (and very short!) posts I came up with this quote:-

Have you ever tried to smile and think of a negative thought? Usually the result is that one of the feelings will win out.

dog2Try it and see! Basically humans cannot hold attention on more than one thought at a time – if you sit in front of a TV reading a newspaper, your attention flicks between the two, it doesn’t attend to both at the same time. Smiling is important because of the effect it has on you, as much as those around you.

Is Smiling Good for You?

Another recent post suggests there is evidence that smiling is good for you.  On Why is Smiling Good for You Dr Amanda Grant Smith kicks off with:-

The act of smiling itself has been shown to be good for one’s health. Simply changing your expression to a smile or mimicking another’s smile can cause involuntary biological changes just like those induced by emotions.

She goes on to say that looking at other peoples smiles causes positive chemical changes in our brain, plus:-

Research has also revealed that smiling can lower blood pressure, release natural painkillers called endorphins, increase serotonin (a target of antidepressant drugs) and reduce stress.

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Mother Teresa

How to Smile?

On Hani Al-Qasem’s Confidence blog he has gone as far as encouraging you to start smiling as a confidence boosting exercise:-

The amazingly, exceptionally easy method to raise your self confidence is putting a wide smile on your face, and keeping it there for as long as you can.

Start with 10 seconds, move up to 20 seconds, up to a minute and so on. You immediately feel the difference. Try it. Do it now! And feel the surge of self confidence.

catAnd why not?  As he suggests, linking that deliberate smile with a memory of doing something well or something you are proud of has a few things going for it:-

1) Its free

2) Its very simple to do

3) It works

What I have suggested within my post on “how to look confident“, we seldom stop and think how we look every day.  Do we slouch, look at the ground as we walk – or go around with a grim, surly expression?

Do you look confident? If I spotted you are a social gathering, what would your body language say – “Go away, I don’t want to be here” or “Come and meet me”?

Making the effort to smile isn’t difficult. What is slightly  harder is changing your everyday habit so that a smile becomes your default setting.

Is smiling good for self confidence? I doubt if anyone would disagree that it can hardly hurt, and will probably do a lot of  good. So why not try? Compared with trying to change your thinking habits, its simple!

Photos by merecojelene and mao_lini on Flickr

Kashmira June 17, 2009 at 1:06 am

I love the tip about trying to smile and think negatively at the same time! What a simple solution! Love it, love it, love it!

I had written a post about this topic a long time ago, but it wasn’t this comprehensive. Am glad to have read this one 🙂

Kashmiras last blog post..Smile

Shannon June 19, 2009 at 8:08 am

I love this post! Did you know that people can “hear” a smile over the phone? I work in sales and customer service and a smile works every time to put the person on the other end of the phone at ease. The added benefit that you write about is that when I smile I feel better too. Smiling is the ultimate win-win because it shines its good effects both inwardly and outwardly! 🙂

Shannons last blog post..Why Shea Butter is Healing

Scott June 19, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Hey, excellent post and nice writing style! I enjoyed it.

Scotts last blog post..Baseball Card Prospecting

Vin - NaturalBias June 19, 2009 at 2:56 pm

A great reminder of something that many of us take for granted! Laughter is great as well.

For a smile to work, it has to be genuine. I find that the more able I am to appreciate simple things, the easier it is for me to smile, and in turn, be happy and have a balanced outlook.

Vin – NaturalBiass last blog post..Your Right to Choose Healthy Food is at Stake … Again

Lance Nelson June 19, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I’m gonna try this …

thanks this really is a top tip,


Lance Nelsons last blog post..Mountain Bike Event – The Road To Nowhere: Audio Interview

David June 19, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Thank you all for your positive comments – plus stumbles & retweets – Big Smile 🙂 !!

rama June 21, 2009 at 4:31 am

Thanks for your post! Facing one’s fear (that is checking whether that fear is valid or not) and moving out of the box or your comfort zone would definitely improve self confidence .

ramas last blog post..Is extrinsic motivation effective?

mutuelle June 26, 2009 at 6:04 pm

As the most of my friends realized ,they are e,joying my large smile every time they meet me, I even find it a great way for me also to avoid stress.Not only ,a smile ,it’s also some jokes,…Guys don’t stop smiling

Sharon Wilson July 6, 2009 at 8:15 am

I love your post! Thank you for your wonderful tip about smiling!
.-= Sharon Wilson´s last blog ..Get All Your Burning Questions Answered on Q&A with Sharon Wilson Tomorrow! =-.

Heather Laughton July 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Havent stopped smiling since i read it – it really works to improve my mood when i smile if i notice im thinking a negative thought! Will do it more often…i always smile at people in the street, its amazing how a returned smile can make me feel so much happier than being ignored or dismissed.

mutuelle September 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I love your post! Thank you for your wonderful tip about smiling!

mutuelle santé October 5, 2009 at 2:22 pm

it’s scientifically proven that we can actually change our attitude by ‘positive thinking behaviour’ and smiling is one of it. doing that we create new brain connections that will be responsable for our new ‘happy behaviour’ but what most important for our ‘feeling happy’. great post, thanks!

mutuelle October 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm

I’m not sure about that but smiling is good for other people

assurance October 17, 2009 at 6:09 am

I too liked your blog

defiscalisation October 21, 2009 at 8:10 am

looking at these photos make me smile

Mutuelle October 27, 2009 at 1:45 am

Smiling can wash away tears.

Defiscalisation October 29, 2009 at 1:47 am

A smile can change the mood of someone.

mutuelle November 1, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for your blog ! you’re right!

mutuelle November 1, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Thanks for your blog ! you’re right!

mutuelle November 1, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Thanks for your blog ! you’re right!

mutuelle November 1, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Thanks for your blog ! you’re right!

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