I was doing a little experiment during a couple of month. The question I asked myself was: how far can a little change in behavior and/or facial expression can make a difference in how the outside world is reacting on you? And not just that, how far can it change the way you feel during the day. The answer was kind of a positive chain reaction.
I learned that you can change the way you think about something by changing your body position. My girlfriend was a perfect guinea pig for this when I was observing that she was in a bad mood because of a situation on her work. She had some kind of a problem with one of her colleges. A problem that seemed so big that she took it home with her. Before I proceed, let me tell you this: there is no job that is worth to take problems home like schoolwork. Alas, to many people do this every day.
When she stood in front of me, with an angry facial expression she told me that she was thinking on this college she was mad about. I took her by her shoulders en bended her into a ridiculous position. Then I asked her to think on that person again. She started to laugh. That was great, not just because she has a very nice laugh, bu also because it proofed that by changing her body position, she wasn’t able to think about that person in the same way. You could try something like that the next time you have negative thoughts about something. You could, for example stand on one leg and spread your arms like this Karate Kid guy. I don’t bet all I have, but I dare bet at least a cup of coffee that your negative thoughts will vanish for that moment.
What has this all to do with a little smile? This is a good question, and the answer is on its way. Just relax and read on.
Around the same time I was observing by myself that I was looking much too serious when I walked through my hometown. There were certain pros, but not much. One of them was that the so called drugs runners (this are the guys in Holland who try to sell you cocaine and heroine, even if you leave the house just for a newspaper) changed the side of the street when I came along. Some people even said that I look dangerous. Unbelievable, I know, but a serious look combined with short hair (or a bald head) can make such a impression. However, they had to ask someone else if they wanted to by some hard drugs from them.
The negative side of this is that you keep everyone on a certain distance.
So after this little experiment with my girlfriend I decided to change this. Just trying it out for a week. I can already tell you that this week never ended. From that day on I forced myself to smile. Every time when I was in public.
Of course I did not walk around with a big smile on my face like a moron or like Stephen Kings clown Pennywise. Not just to avoid things like a big bumpy guy asking Hey, what the fuck are you smiling at me?
No, just a little smile. The corners of my mouth slightly upwards. Not a crooked smile. Not even a royal smile. I leave this to our Queen and her family. Of course I avoided a forced smile as well, even though I was forcing myself to smile. I have to mention that I am one of those persons who cannot smile forced without being accused immediately of doing so. So if you see me smile, you’ll know that it’s a true, honest and gratis smile. No charge for the endorphins I’ll provide you with it.
From day one I saw immediate changes around me. I know, some of you think that this sounds retarded and smells like cliché, but trust me, it’s true. When I went to the station and bought cigarettes on my way to the bus or the train, the person behind the counter of the kiosk smiled back. Sometimes I had that feeling of I made his or her day just by being friendly. I can tell you that it really satisfies to make others peoples day with just a little gesture. If you work in a call center and you deal the whole day with customer complains, you’ll know what it means when you get this one friendly customer on the line who is making your day by telling you how good you are doing your job.
With all this smiling, you vibrate positivity and you get more of what you are vibrating. It’s like hitting one note on a piano in a piano store. You will hear that the snare of the same note will start to vibrate in the pianos around it.
At one point my smile improved in a certain way. What I mean with this is that it became a kind of a natural habit. I do it without reminding myself. Of course there are lots of people who don’t smile back. Too much in fact. But in this situations I always think on a saying I once read on the Internet: The person who does not smile back, needs your smile the most.
Have a nice day!