Smiling: Making it a Practice
As discussed in the previous post, smiling has many benefits, and making it a consistent and intentional practice can bring you those benefits more often and develop into a normal practice.
For me it started very small with just an uptick of the corners of my lips. I still continue this practice often because it reminds me how such a simple action can create change. Unless I am having a really bad day, this has become my new resting face. This was a simple change to make. I practiced just this for a long time, but it eventually developed into more. Growing it into a practice with a bigger smile took a little more effort.
CREATING YOUR PRACTICE
- Choose a time or place you visit often. When I started I was traveling a lot, so I chose the airport. You can also set an alarm to go off during specific time to remind you to practice.
- When you get there or that time approaches, put a broad smile on your face and keep it as long as possible.
- Get through those first moments of feeling uncomfortable, and see how long you can sustain that broad smile.
- Next time, make it a goal to smile a little longer than you did the previous time.
- Repeat as often as possible.
GROWING YOUR PRACTICE
This practice can translate to almost any activity, and you can choose more times and activities as you grow your practice. I like to smile while running and doing yoga; it adds an element of joy to the activity. My favorite is to practice smiling at other people whereever I am: at the store, out on the trail, on video calls, and even while driving.
I may not practice smiling all day everyday, but I do make an effort to smile more than not to experience the benefits it provides.
As Amanda Mausner in her Disrupt Your Comfort Zone challenge says:
It's challenging to be friendly and open to others. It's difficult to bring kindness to the world. Especially to strangers.
So tomorrow: smile at everyone. Smile when it feels awkward. Smile when it doesn't make sense. Smile so much that your face hurts. Smile that you make someone question what you're doing.
I want you to feel awkward and weird. That's the whole point. Go so over and beyond that you radiate kindness and genuine friendliness to everyone that you encounter.
I hope you can find the benefits to practice smiling! Give it a shot today, tomorrow, and perhaps everyday!