“You haven't lost your smile at all, it's right under your nose. You just forgot it was there.”
“If you see a friend without a smile; give him one of yours.”
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Leo F. Buscaglia
1. Enjoy the many benefits of a smile. In order to want to smile, it really helps to know what benefits a smile can bring to your day. The following benefits are bound to make you lean towards sharing a smile with others most of the day:
- Smiles improve your appearance. Charles Gordy once quipped: "A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks". All you need to do is think about how you feel about a person who is frowning and a person who is smiling – who tends to be the better looking?
- Smiles create trust and rapport. A smile is a great way of establishing mutual feelings of being on the same level as others, whether that is one-to-one or in front of a group giving a presentation. A smile says "I'm OK, you're OK, and we're all going to enjoy one another's company".
2. Become comfortable with smiling. If you're not used to smiling regularly, overcoming your nervousness or cynicism about smiling can take a little practice but like any habit, it's easy to reform with time. Some things to keep in mind include:
- A smile always looks good. Feeling nervous about the beauty or appearance of your smile is unnecessary. Trust that your smile makes you look great.
- A smile is professional. Smiling at work or during other professional occasions is not going to make you seem unprofessional. Quite the opposite, a smile will humanize you and make you appear more approachable. People will appreciate your recognition of their worth and of a job well done when you smile.
3. Make your smile genuine. While it is perfectly possible to crack a smile when you feel terrible, angry, annoyed, or you're up to something nefarious, a genuine smile is much harder to fake; indeed, only around 10 percent of the population can manage that feat. A genuine smile is detectable by others because it is accompanied by a general glow, smiling eyes where the outer corners crinkle and the lower lid tightens, and a reassuring demeanor that helps the viewer to feel more at ease in your presence. A genuine smile comes from being happy, positive, and from drawing your feelings from the heart.
- Love people and your life. It's much easier to produce friendly, easygoing, genuine smiles when you love what you do, when you love the people around you, and when you love humanity in general. Be grateful for all that you have and you'll find smiles come far more naturally.
- Be playful. Intense times can make us too serious. See life as an adventure, be gentle on yourself and watch children at play. Being playful will bring a smile to your face much more easily.
4. Smile with your eyes. A wholehearted smile will naturally draw in the eyes. It is commonplace to hear a person say "her eyes were smiling", or to say "he didn't mean it; he was smiling but his eyes weren't". The eyes are essential for a genuine, warm smile. Your eyes light up, twinkle, and reflect your happiness. While it's hard to fake this unless you're really feeling it, you can try this exercise:
- To get a feel for how to make your eyes smile, stand in front of a mirror and practice smiling, but concentrate only on your eyes. You may find it helpful to cover the lower part of your face with a piece of paper. Play around with it a bit, and you'll find that you can make your mouth smile when your eyes aren't smiling, and you can also smile only with your eyes. When your eyes do smile, remember how it feels, which muscles are working and how. With practice, you may discover how to smile with your eyes at will by relying on your feelings and muscle memory.