Do you try your hardest not to smile or laugh – despite your friends’ funniest jokes – in public?
And even on the rare occasions when your lips do part, does your hand automatically go up to your mouth?
Congratulations; you’re a reluctant smiler!
Maybe it’s something to do with your teeth (just like the co-founder of The Travel Intern, Cherie). Or maybe, for some strange reason, you feel like smiling shows too much of your gums, or that your mouth shape looks downright creepy (Joker, anyone?)
Whatever it is, you’re missing out.
Smile your way to happiness
Happiness makes you smile.
But did you know that the reverse also holds true?
See: a smile spurs a chemical reaction in your brain, releasing the neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine increases your feelings of happiness, while serotonin release is associated with reduced stress.
In other words… Smiling can ‘trick’ your brain into believing you’re happy–thus, spurring actual feelings of happiness.
Many studies have also shown that smiling can lower stress, boost your immune system, make you more likeable (who doesn’t want that?), and possibly even prolong your life.
Pretty impressive eh? Who’d have thought so much was going on behind your smile?
But… what if I’ve lost my smiling superpowers???
Thankfully, you can learn (or rather, relearn) how to smile.
Here are three easy steps to getting a genuine smile back.
1. Think of something joyful to smile about
Always thought that your smile looked a little forced, or, for lack of better word – fake?
There’s a simple fix to this.
According to researcher Andrew Newberg, the secret behind a more genuine and real smile lies in your mind.
Before you flash your pearly whites, visualise someone you deeply love (it can even be your dog!), or recall an event that brought you deep satisfaction and joy.
Before you know it, you’ll be wearing the most natural smile.
2. Practice smiling in the mirror
The adage, ‘Practice makes perfect’ is true.
Make time to sit yourself down in front of a mirror to practice your smile.
Better yet, grab one or two pictures of your favourite smiles (taken from your vacation, maybe).
Keep flashing your smiles in the mirror until you match the ones you like in the pictures.
3. Release your smile into the wild
Now that you’ve put in all that effort behind your smile, it’s time to test it out in the wide, wide world.
You’ve got to try out your uninhibited smile in real life or all that training will go to waste!
So, squash your old fears of smiling in public – instead, get comfortable with smiling during situations when you usually don’t feel like it.
As is socially appropriate, of course.
Do not smile when your colleague tells you that their his/her dog, Fluffy, has just died!
The key takeaway
You’ve spent all these years smiling that smile of yours.
So, it’ll be unreasonable to expect that you’ll fall in love with your smile overnight, after a day of practice.
It will take time.
But trust us, before you know it, people around you will start asking, “Why are you smiling so much?”
In a good way, of course.
Start Smiling – Today.
The most genuine smile ever is waiting to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public.
Will it be YOUR smile?