Smiling is the natural response to something funny, happy, or enjoyable so it stands to reason that you probably do not need help with the automatic smile response. Where there is room for improvement is in those mundane, everyday situations when you otherwise might not be automatically smiling. To learn how to smile more, you must first practice:
- Practice Smiling: Smile. Do it right now as you read this. Put a big, warm smile on your face. Not a fake, strange smile, but a real smile, like you are seeing an old friend after several years. Now, think of something unhappy, but keep smiling. It is difficult to hold an unhappy or negative thought in your mind while keeping a smile on your face. Smiling can help increase happiness and decrease negativity.
- Give Yourself a Smile Cue: Now that you have practiced smiling and understand a little bit about how smiling can improve your mood, the trick is remembering to smile as you go through your day. You will probably need a reminder to smile often. Choose something that you hear, see, or do often during the day to be your “smile cue.” You might choose a sound as your reminder, like a phone ringing or an email notification beep. You might choose an action, such as getting in or out of your car, to remind you to smile. You might choose a visual reminder, like seeing someone drinking coffee or seeing someone laughing. Challenge yourself to smile every time you encounter your cues for this entire week.
- Stay Motivated: People who smile while talking make a much better impression because they seem more confident and friendly4. You can even “hear” a smile over the phone. If you smile while taking a call, the tone of your voice will lighten and you’ll be able to make a better connection through the phone.
Here’s Your Commitment: This week I will smile every time I am reminded by my “smile cue(s).”