Back in college, I took part in a study for my communication class that taught me a valuable lesson about the powerful effect of smiles, not the sarcastic kind, but honest, heartfelt smiles. For an entire week, we had to smile, smile, smile, even if we were upset or disappointed, we had to smile. By the first day, my cheeks ached from so much conscious smiling, but I discovered something, it was difficult to feel any other emotion than happiness when I smiled. And even better, it was contagious. Everywhere I went smiles beamed back at me, like the hesitant barriers we put up for all strangers was gone. My smile even softened disagreements to nothing more than friendly discussions of opinions. It was amazing. Such a simple little gesture, yet it changed my internal approach to life as well as my interactions with others.
I have to admit I haven’t mastered the ability to smile all the time, but I always make sure I do when entering an unfamiliar territory or know what I have to say will put me at odds with someone. Just remember, people who wear a consistent smile are viewed as friendly and approachable. So when you’re new or can see an argument coming give ‘em a smile…it couldn’t hurt and more than likely it will help.