Written by Tidal Pooler – Ian Kennedy (his debut contribution)
It is so difficult to avoid the ever-depressing headlines that highlight the corruption, evils and disasters that plague our world. One doesn’t have to look too far to be triggered into frustration and dejection. No matter what side of a fence you might sit, the other side’s opposing ideals and philosophies can make us severely despondent. As a result, we sometimes struggle to smile!
Fortunately, I believe there is far more good than bad in our world. However, that doesn’t sell newspapers nor make headlines on news channels and social media. So, we remain overwhelmed by ‘feel bad’ stories.
As humans we can choose how to react to all this negativity. In the work I do with my clients, we often focus on their thoughts, their effective and ineffective behaviours and the choices they have to be their best selves. Each client and their needs are unique. However, no matter who you are, what work you do or what roles you play, it can start with something as simple as a smile to get you into a cycle of positivity.
A “smiling act” can be anything from a smile itself, to a thank you, an acknowledgment or an act of kindness. The list is long and enjoyable and the cost to you is nothing, but the impact on that other person can be significant.
Did you know that these smiling acts are positively infectious? The part of the brain responsible for the facial expression of smiling when happy, or mimicking another person’s smile, is located in our unconscious automatic response area. The impact can be conscious or subconscious, yet in all these cases the person feels appreciated and valued, and can spark the “pay it forward” effect.
Each time you smile, your brain feels happy. Smiling activates the release of feel-good-messengers that work towards fighting stress. When a smile flashes across your face, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released into your bloodstream. This not only makes your body relax, but also works to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Endorphins are natural painkillers that are 100% naturally produced by your own body, without the adverse effects of medication.
The other great news about smiling or an act of kindness is that people treat you differently. You are seen as more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. So just by smiling, we feel better!
We can’t always control what happens to us, but smiling and laughing can change your internal and external experience, and brighten your perspective on life.
I encourage you to smile and laugh as regularly as possible, do more kind things and notice others – I guarantee that you will start seeing the world differently. Even one smile a day can have a major impact on your mood and relationships. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so keep smiling!