There’s a lot out there in leadership literature about optimism – all about how an optimistic vantage point makes you more resilient and folks more interested in following someone that can inspire. I even wrote about the Happiness Advantage last week.
Sometimes, there’s even a simpler solution: SMILE.
Scientific research shows that smiling, particularly the kind of smile that involves the muscles around the eyes, creates a specific type of brain activation that’s connected to being in a happy mood.
Heck, the latest intel indicates that having one of these “Duchenne smiles” can lead to lower heart rate levels and quicker recovery from stressful activities. I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use a quicker recovery from stress in my life!
Researchers say, “Smiling can change our brain, through a powerful feedback loop. And your brain keeps track of your smiles, kind of like a smile scorecard. It knows how often you’ve smiled and which overall emotional state you are in therefore.” And not only do you feel better when you smile, but those around you also feel better. Being around a happy person improves your own mood – it’s why science shows people feel happier around children as they smile close to 400 times a day (a happy adult smiles 40 times a day).
Resilience and positivity are key components to leading effectively and remarkably something as simple as a smile can jump start those elements.
Catch yourself throughout the day today: are you smiling? Or further still, are you actively frowning? Many of us don’t even recognize that our faces fall into a stern appearance when simply resting. Catch a glimpse of your resting face. People may think you are angry or confused when you are actually thinking. Remind yourself to smile. Think of something funny that happened recently to get you going. You may find that smiling more not only improves your outlook and attitude, but that you have more people wanting to be around you.
Photo Credit: Krystal Gabriel