The Undeniable Power of Smiling (E11)

Everyone’s looking for the secret to happiness, but what if we all have known it since before we were born?


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by Amber Beam in Personal Development, Podcast
March 4, 2016


In this week’s episode of The Art of Personal Growth podcast, I discuss the power of smiling. As simple as the act of smiling sounds – and is, – we often overlook its comprehensive, amazing benefits.

Why talk about smiling at all? I was struck by the truth and suggestions in a recent post on Maria Shriver’s site, entitled “I Have It All–So Why Aren’t I Happy?” by Lisa Henriksson. In it, the author lays out how her “perfect” life was actually incredibly unfulfilling. She also tells how she learned a few tools to help her reframe her thoughts and expectations away from ‘supposed to’ and toward happiness.

These sentiments struck a chord with me, and I was then inspired by Ron Gutman’s TED Talk (“The Hidden Power of Smiling”) to test the power of smiling in improving mood. The Crash Test Dummy Experiment in this week’s episode focuses on my test of smiling to improve my own mood, and the mood of those around me. Together with the lessons from these outside resources, here are six reasons to smile. Yes, right now.

Smiling has a powerful effect on your mood: it is as stimulating to your brain as 2,000 chocolate bars (without the calories!) or receiving $25,000 (without the taxes)! In my own experiment, I found that smiling did have a noticeable improvement on my mood, resulting in feelings of lightness and positivity.

Smiling causes dramatic physiological changes; it reduces stress hormones, and blood pressure. Finally, smiling can change others’ perceptions of you: adding a smile to your ‘look’ makes you instantly seem more attractive, likeable, credible, and courteous.

Smiling is also easy. Babies in utero have been captured on ultrasound smiling; our muscles are naturally designed to smile, and evolution has perpetuated this skill (probably because smiling makes us more attractive, and we all know where that leads!).

Smiling is contagious, as I tested during my Self Help Crash Test Dummy Experiment of smiling through difficult conversations at work. Even in these stressful situations, I found that by smiling, those around me were also less stressed. Most importantly, making yourself smile is just as effective as smiling because you feel good. You don’t have to be in a good mood to start smiling – smiling helps put you in a better mood!

As Lisa Henriksson recommends in her tips for increasing happiness, Be your own cheerleader. You know what cheerleaders do? They smile. Give it a try, and you’ll be amazed at the results – for you, and for those around you.

Our quote this week reminds us to be the light, the sliver of hope, the one positive in someone else’s stormy sky. This experiment has taught me so much about the power of smiling; I can influence my happiness and the happiness of others with just a smile. I challenge you to smile today and see how it makes you feel – think of Lord Byron and #BeTheRainbow in someone’s stormy life.

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.”
— Lord Byron

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks for joining me this week. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave an honest review for The Art of Personal Growth podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful to tailoring the content of the show and I read them all! They also matter in the rankings of the show.

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It's Time for a Better Career Change!

Don't Put Your Happiness on Hold!

Start Now!