The Power of a Smile

The other day I was not in the most stellar mood. Well, if I’m honest, I was in a cranky gloomy-Gus attitude. I begrudgingly changed into my workout gear and got in the elevator. 

I’m glad I didn’t look in the mirror as I’m pretty positive I’d see a scowling look which is never attractive. My concierge greeted me with a friendly smile and in his chipper positive voice said, “Dina! Hello! Good morning to you! It’s such a lovely day now isn’t it?!”

This in turn made me smile and chat with him for about a minute. My frown had suddenly turned upside down!! As I walked to the gym, my smile persisted, I had a great workout as well as a good day!

It made me remember a specific day two weeks ago. I was feeling a bit sad (and perhaps emotionally exhausted) but I had an event that I had to go to (I tried very hard to think of a plausible excuse but alas – I had nothing). As soon as I got there, I saw some friendly faces and in barely an instant, I was smiling, laughing and forgot about the “mood” I was in.

I remember one of the first days after my stroke when I came out of my coma. I was deeply confused and scared. I’ll never forget my sweet nurse. She smiled at me, held my hand and in such a warm soothing voice said “you are going to be just fine my dear.” She went about checking all my machines and tubes but every few seconds, she would look at me and smile.

The simplest act of smiling has the ability to work wonders and completely change ones’ mood in a positive way . I am reminded of the following paragraph from Sheryl Sandberg’s great book Lean-In where she says: (P.33-34)

“When I don’t feel confident, one tactic I’ve learned is that it sometimes helps to fake it…….Some days, the smile came naturally. Other days, I was in a lousy mood and had to fake it. Yet after an hour of forced smiling, I often felt cheerful. Many of us have experienced being angry with someone and then having to pretend everything’s great in public. My husband, Dave, and I have our moments, and just when we are getting into it, it will be time to go to a friend’s house for dinner. We put on our “everything’s great” smiles, and amazingly, after a few hours, it often is.”

Next time you’re annoyed, sad, or in a bad mood, try and find something that will make you smile, even just for a second.