Happiness not only makes life more pleasant, but can lead to better health, well-being, and longevity.1 To make the most of life and get started, give the smiling skills outlined below a try for one week. Consider it a one-week smiling experiment. If you commit to following this guide on how to smile more, you will already be on the right track to living a happier, healthier life.
Steps to happiness
1. What You’ll Do: For the entire week, you’ll focus on smiling more. You’ll develop a way to remind yourself to smile throughout your day and even force a smile onto your face periodically. Why? Research shows that if you smile, your mood actually improves.2
2. How It Works: Researchers think that by forcing a smile, you activate a specific set of muscles in the face.3 That set of muscles is closely connected to the emotions of happiness and joy. By smiling, you are signaling the emotional centers of your brain to tell them that everything is good. So even if it’s not, it will be soon.
3. Get Motivated: Smiling more is a simple way to greatly improve the quality of your life. All you have to do is smile, and you will be a happier person. Really. It’s that simple.
Ways to smile more this week
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 smiling more, you must first practice:
1. 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 one, 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.
2. 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 do that 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 do this simple act every time you encounter your cues for this entire week.
3. Stay Motivated
Smiling while talking makes a much better impression because you seem more confident and friendly 4. You can even “hear” a smile over the phone. If you are smiling 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).”