My New Year’s Resolution: Smile More Often

By Jack Doueck

More than two decades ago I wrote a book about how acts of kindness enrich our lives. One whole chapter was devoted to the simple act of smiling.  The happiest people I know are those who spend most of their time focused on helping others, and the majority of these people have a big, beautiful smile.  They discovered the enormous power of smiling and incorporated it into their lives. 2020 was a tough year for many of us, so, like many people, I need to start 2021 on the right foot and remind myself of this simple, yet powerful act.

A once-famous poem entitled “The Value of a Smile,” says it all:  

“It costs nothing but creates much.  It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.  It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.  None are so rich they can get along without it, and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.

“It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends.  It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and natures best antidote for trouble.

“Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone ’til it is given away.  And if in the hurly-burly bustle of today’s business world, some of the people you meet should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?

“For nobody needs a smile so much, as those who have none left to give.” 1

There are three good reasons to smile more often: It communicates positivity; it helps you become more productive and creative; and it improves your health.  Here are some of the details:

  • Smiling communicates positivity.
    • Like yawns, smiles are contagious  
    • Smiling makes the people around you happier
    • Smiling makes you more attractive to others
    • It is an international language of warmth 
    • People who smile seem to be more approachable, warm and kind.
    • It encourages trust.
    • It helps you make a good impression on others.
    • It shows through your mask! When you smile, others can see it in your eyes.

     

  •   People who smile are more productive and creative.
    • A 2010 study by Andrew Oswald, a professor of economics at Warwick Business School over in England, proved that employees who smile more often are significantly more productive and creative in the workplace.
    • 2013 study from the University of California, San Francisco, explored this connection in men and found that those who were happier had a more comprehensive approach to problems, improving their ability to think of more solutions than their negative-minded counterparts.  The researchers connected this finding to the release of dopamine triggered by happiness, since the neurotransmitter is involved in learning, processing and decision-making. 2

 

  • Smiling improves your health.
    • Smiling makes you happier and the added oxygen improves your immune system
    • Studies have shown that endorphins, which function as natural pain killers, are released while smiling which reduces stress.  
    • Smiling releases more white blood cells, which protect the body against infectious diseases.
    • In a 2012 study published in the journal Psychological Science, University of Kansas psychological scientists Tara Kraft and Sarah Pressman studied 170 participants who were told to hold chopsticks in their mouths in three formations, making them smile to various degrees without realizing it, after performing a stressful task. The experiment revealed that subjects who smiled the biggest with the chopsticks experienced a substantial reduction in heart rate and quicker stress recovery compared to those whose expressions remained neutral. 3

So, for three good reasons, my New Year’s resolution is simply to smile more often.

__________________________________________________________________________________ Jack Doueck is Co-Founder of Energy Marketing Conferences, Advanced Energy Capital and LED Plus.

Footnotes

  1. How to win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  2. https://www.prevention.com/life/a20461282/how-a-good-mood-boosts-creativity/
  3. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/smiling-facilitates-stress-recovery.html