Wear a smile
Very early on in my divorce, a wise friend advised me to ‘wear a smile’, and told me to ‘fake it til you make it’. It may seem that there is very little to smile about when you’re dealing with the challenges of a divorce, and I admit I was sceptical. At the time, I had no idea why smiling was such a good idea. But I tried it, and found that it really did work. As a coach, I now know that there are proven biological reasons as to why smiling is good for you. As a result, I often advise my clients to wear a smile.
Body language and mood are strongly linked, and evidence shows that smiling or laughing on purpose relaxes the facial muscles, decreases stress hormones and calms the nervous system.
Smiling can help lower your heart rate when you feel under stress. Smiling and laughing also release endorphins into the body. These hormones trigger a positive feeling of wellbeing in the body, and act as analgesics, reducing the feeling of pain. If you smile often enough, you will rewire your brain to make positive patterns, which helps you to have more energy, see more possibility and increase self-confidence. Smiling helps us to self-medicate and heal. ‘Fake it til you make it’ isn’t just a platitude – it really does work to give a sense of wellbeing.
“Laugh and the world laughs with you” – ever feel drawn to that person at a party who is always smiling, always laughing? Smiling makes us more attractive to others, as when we smile we appear open and empathetic, which encourages trust and liking, and therefore co-operation. In social groups, we are likely to mirror the facial expressions of others, so smiling really can spread. Smiling helps to bond people together. It’s contagious.
Smiling is a simple way to increase positivity, feel calmer, and be more confident. Try it out, and see if you feel the benefit.