By Brigitte Cutshall
“You always look happy.” One of my neighbors said this to me once while out walking my dogs. Guess I was caught smiling again.
A smile can make a positive impact in any situation. It’s contagious. This is something we need to remember now that the holidays are here. You can enjoy those holiday parties and meals more by simply smiling.
The holidays are an opportunity to help reinforce the values and beliefs that are important to us. Yet many people feel overwhelmed and complain that they just want to survive the holidays. That’s a red-flag that values are taken for granted and you should adjust the traditions that have been set.
Even if you don’t feel “it” or aren’t in the moment, the simple act of smiling can change that perspective. Who cares if your Aunt Betty brings a casserole dish over for Christmas dinner that you won’t eat and find kind of gross? Focus on the good things happening. It’s best to just smile and be thankful for the moment to be there together.
Choosing to focus on good things can make you feel better than when you focus on the negative. This is the main idea behind my book “Real Things: 6 Ways to Embrace Life.” One of the chapters is “Do Things That Make You Happy” and touches on the topic of smiling.
Some people just naturally smile more than others. Are they genetically wired that way? Doubtful. Those that smile a lot develop habits that focus on positive aspects mainly based on their influences. If you take a more positive approach to life and use that sense of humor and smile, life will be more beautiful.
Admittedly, it is difficult for some people to smile because life is hard for them. You can lift them up (even if it’s temporary) with a smile. That simple act of empathy builds trust and can help raise their self-esteem.
Smiling is something that we easily take for granted. Here are some benefits that demonstrate how influential a smile can be.
- Smiling provides a positive image to others. This builds healthier relationships, personal and business, and demonstrates confidence. People are more likely to respond and are respectful in return.
- Smiling has a calming effect on you. Endorphins are released when you smile, that brings your stress levels down and reduces negative feelings. You are also less likely to feel anxious.
- Smiling regularly innately helps you find things to laugh and smile about. Get into the habit of consciously looking at things that are uplifting or funny. You will be more aware (and in tune) with your surroundings and more likely to be engaged in a positive way as second nature.
- Smiling is a great way to be social. A smile is welcoming and makes you more approachable. You can change someone’s day by smiling at them. You don’t know what they’re dealing with. That simple smile is reassuring and tells them “it’s going to be okay.”
- Smiling makes you feel happier and healthier. Happiness is not just an emotion but a positive perspective that can lead to behavioral changes. And that overall feeling of happiness reduces your heart rate, reduces the effect of pain and stress, and calms the body overall.
Don’t let the power of a smile go to waste. Say thank you often, tell others how much you appreciate them, and offer a compliment. This habit only takes a few minutes each day. You’ll be happy to see all those smiles in return.
Brigitte Cutshall is a Media Solutions Consultant and a Certified Health Coach and a two-time breast cancer survivor and living with a benign brain tumor. Brigitte obtained her Health Coach Certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition based in New York. Brigitte is the author of “Real Things: 6 Ways to Embrace Life” published April 2015. For more information visit www.brigittecutshall.com and www.realthings.guru. Connect with her on Facebook.