Is Learning To Smile Possible?
In a word … “Yes”. Learning to smile is possible.
“It’s amazing what a difference a smile can make”.
I’m sure you’ve heard people say this. It’s more than just a saying though. It’s actually true. Smiling has been proven to make a difference to how confident you feel, particularly when you’re under pressure.
The good news is that learning to smile is possible. It requires a conscious effort though. This may seem odd to say because ‘making an effort’ and ‘smiling’ don’t seem to go together. Surely smiling is something you do naturally when you’re amused or happy? Yes true but try looking at it like this …
Should you use a fake smile?
Learning to smile more is going to involve practising. That means you’ll be trying to smile when it doesn’t feel natural to. In other words you’ll be smiling when you don’t really feel like it. You’ll need to fake it. That’s exactly what you should do. Here’s why …
It might sound daft but it’s true that you get the same benefits when you actually force yourself to smile as you do when you smile naturally. So learning to smile with a fake smile is definitely worth it. Studies have proved that facial expressions linked to an emotion trigger changes in your body that are similar to those that happen when you experience the actual emotion. In other words, if you use a fake smile, you get to experience the same feelings as you do when you smile naturally.
So, if you’re naturally a smiley and happy person and you smile a lot, don’t change … and if you’re not, it is worth making the effort to smile more. The good news is that learning to smile is possible. So if you don’t smile very much, you can change that.
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Does smiling make you happy?
Yes! Your mood tends to improve when you smile. It’s a fact that the physical act of smiling improves the way you feel. Smiling actually makes you feel happier. The act of smiling starts a chain reaction; it causes your brain to stimulate your body to release endorphins and serotonin.
So even a fake smile can achieve this. It really is possible to trick your brain. It can’t tell the difference between a fake smile and a genuine smile. If you don’t believe me – try it and you’ll see what I mean.
Why should you smile more?
As well as making you happier, there are other tangible benefits you get when you smile
You feel less stressed
Smiling helps you to feel and think more positively. Smiling can stop stress from increasing and can actually help to reduce it. The serotonin and endorphins help to combat feelings of stress and to make you feel calmer and more in control.
One obvious sign of this can be a reduction in your pulse rate. Try taking your pulse before and after smiling for a few moments and you’ll see what I mean.
Your immune system is boosted
People who smile regularly tend to be more optimistic in their approach to life. Some researchers even believe that this can lead to a stronger immune system and an ability to fight off illness better than pessimists.
Christopher Peterson, Ph.D, a University of Michigan professor who’s been studying optimism’s link to health for over two decades, firmly believes that the research is very clear. There is a link between optimistic attitudes and good health. In studies he found that optimistic people are healthier because their biological make-up is different. As a direct result, they have a more robust immune system. So helping yourself to be optimistic by smiling more makes a lot of sense.
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You look more confident and in control
We tend not to smile when we feel uncomfortable or under pressure. People often notice this about you and draw their own conclusions. If two people are giving a presentation and one smiles regularly but not the other, it’s more likely that you’ll perceive the person who smiles to be the more confident of the two. That’s a fact.
So if you want to give the very best confident impression in a meeting or during a presentation, make sure you smile. Smiling not only benefits you in these ways, but it also benefits those around you. People instinctively react to seeing a smile by smiling themselves.
Watch people interacting and you’ll see this happening. So if you want to inject some positivity into a group situation or meeting, try smiling more while you’re speaking. Feeling good is infectious, so smile more and others will catch it.
In a nutshell…
Learning to smile is possible. A fake smile generates the same feelings as a genuine smile. You’re less likely to feel like smiling when you’re under pressure. These are the times that smiling will help you most. Be super-conscious of this. Make an extra effort to smile more and times like this.
Not only will you feel the difference personally but others are more likely to perceive you as a confident individual who is comfortable and in control.
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