We have all heard how infectious a smile can be and how it can brighten your day immediately! But what is this power behind such a simple human act?
Recall (if you will) a few days ago, or perhaps even yesterday. You know the day I’m talking about. You slept through your alarm (which must be broken) and are now late for work. Darn it! You finally race down the stairs and run into the kitchen where you grab that yogurt from the fridge. And without missing a step, you continue like a gazelle out of the kitchen when suddenly the yogurt slips out of your hands and explodes on the floor. Not on the kitchen floor…no…a mere six inches beyond the kitchen floor; the living-room carpet! Great!
You are almost at the front door when you drop your keys, trip over your shoes as you attempt to pick them up, then propel yourself forward only to slam your head on the doorknob. Ouch…instant headache! As you fumble down the thousand flights of stairs outside toward your car, all the while rubbing your head where a bump the size of an egg is now growing, you realize you forgot your phone. Oh no! This is awful! Because you desperately need your phone so you can text your friends at the red lights, which naturally means every light! So you make the “monumentous” climb back up the stairs so you can retrieve that phone intentionally hidden from you by the dark forces that be!
Finally…on the road, predictably, there it is. That car! That car with that invisible driver, which without a doubt, was put on the road with the sole purpose of driving you nuts! When you finally get the chance, you “floor it” to get around him and as you pass, you feel the need to express your “displeasure” by granting them one of your “teach driver etiquette” looks only to feel dissatisfied when you realize they aren’t paying the slightest attention to you. What? But just to make sure, you keep an eye on them in your rear-view mirror and bam…as you look in the mirror, you sneak a peek at yourself only to notice the biggest black speck smack in the middle of your front tooth! Crap! Oh why did you make such a fuss over your Starbucks order being wrong! How you must have looked yelling at that poor barista with that black speck the size of a small house waving at her! Now that little headache has grown into a fully fledged pain in the…well…head!
All of this and it’s only 7 AM! Yikes!
Any of this sounds familiar? I know it does for me! And to make matters worse, it seems that with each little thing that goes wrong, at least ten more follow. The only thing left to happen is the bad mood you are sure to have for the rest of the day. And you are certain that none of this was your fault, because without a shadow of a doubt, it was all those little things that caused this for you! Right?
Wrong! Oh man!
Is it possible that we have the power of changing the day from excruciatingly bad to amazingly wonderful? Hmmmmm, let’s think about that, shall we?
If you break the day down, the day (so far) looks like this from the perspective that you are not in control of your day, hence your moods. Let’s look at them one by one:
…and last, that monster black speck for being on your tooth while you were yelling at the barista! Of course, when you break the day apart like this, it seems silly, but, nonetheless, it contributed to your mood going south; that is your perspective and you’re sticking to it! “Is it possible to save this day”, you cry?
Continuing your day…you decide to regroup yourself by taking an exercise class. After all, you have heard that it’s a wonderful stress reliever. In a few minutes, you see a bouncy, energetic, smiling, ridiculously happy instructor who introduces herself (or himself), and just as quickly the music starts!
You are focused on the instructor’s feet to get those steps right (thinking that you’ll never be able to move like that!), then you start to notice that you are focused on the instructor’s smile.
The music is fun, and full of rhythm and energy, and as you look around the room, you notice that happy smile on everybody! Then it happens…who is that person with that smile?
Why it’s YOU!
How can that be after a day like that? This smile has kicked out that intrusive headache and wiped away all memory of how that day had begun! Amazing!
After class, on your drive home (or to work), your perspective is different. Now you can laugh at the series of events that had occurred only hours earlier. All because of a smile! That simple infectious smile!
But is it only the mood that changes? No…the changes that occur are immense, indeed!
Studies have shown that the simple act of smiling can increase your body’s immune system. Smiling also has a therapeutic effect on the circulatory system, which can reduce blood pressure, one of the nasty side effects of stress. And how about the muscles it takes to create that smile? Did you know that they outnumber the muscles needed to create that unsightly frown? What does this mean? It means that smiling makes you look and feel younger! Imagine how you would look and feel if you smiled more often than frowning? Interesting!
So aside from the benefits of exercising, the important thing is to remember to smile!
You never know whose day you may change!