My theme song was recorded way back in 1929 by the late, great Louis Armstrong. You know the lyrics: “When you’re smilin’, when you’re smilin’ …The whole world smiles with you…”
Growing up as an ugly duckling (or at least feeling like one) I struggled to fit in. My sweet mother consoled me time and time again by saying, “The prettiest thing you can wear is a smile.”
I took it to heart so much so that along the way I became dubbed as the girl with the million dollar smile. The first half of my career was in hospitality, customer service in sales—where it paid to be positive.
Research on smiling
Research shows that people unconsciously imitate or mimic the emotional expressions of others—and can actually experience the same mood as someone in their company.
I’ve been conducting my own research for most of my life. My teammates at Interact poke fun at me when we travel. At the airport, on the street and in the hotel, I give busy travelers a friendly, casual smile to see if I can get them to smile. My average “smile return” rate is 95%!
Not only does smiling reduce stress, a smile we “catch” from another person can trigger a reaction in our brains to experience happiness. When you demonstrate positive emotions, you are viewed by others as more energetic, cooperative and competent.
Here are seven ways to stay positive and build your smile power:
- Position funny pictures of your friends, kids and dogs where you can see them
- Spend time with friends who make you laugh
- Practice random acts of kindness
- Celebrate others successes
- Spend a few minutes every day being grateful
- Practice positive thinking
- Do your own research and count the number of smiles you can trigger today
As usual, Mom was right. I can honestly say that she gave me the best advice I have ever received. In fact I know I would not be where I am today if it were not for my Million Dollar Smile.