Remember my working theory about increasing positivity a few posts back? In it, I wrote about how your body can affect your mind. For example, in Amy Cuddy’s research, she shows how Power Posing (raising your arms aloft and with your chest out just as if you’d won a hard-fought race like Usain Bolt), just holding that Power Pose for short while, say 30 seconds, can flood your body with testosterone and make you feel more confident and more powerful. Isn’t that incredible? Instead of trying to think it or will yourself to feeling more confident, you can hack your body and its processes (in this case hormones such as testosterone) to tangibly affect your mental state? Absolutely incredible, and once you fully internalise that fact and that possibility, then a whole world of opportunity opens up to you.
Another way that you can use your body to affect your mental state is to smile. This isn’t woohoo. Try it right now. Just smile to yourself. Not just a small smile, smile broadly. Smile with your lips closed but wide like a Cheshire cat. Then smile with your teeth showing. No one is watching you so just let yourself go and smile. How do you feel? Pretty good I bet. Better than a few minutes ago? Probably. And that’s the power of a simple smile.
Now imagine if we layered this with another plank of my theory, that of connection with other people. Imagine if you smiled just you did just now, but at other people? Lots of new possibilities happen now. First off, you feel better just like you did above when you smiled to yourself. But additionally you feel good because you’re connecting and also instigating that connection with people, and thirdly, the person you’re smiling at is likely to be feeling well-disposed and connected to you. They are likely to feel better than they did before the interaction with you, and potentially take this with them for the rest of the day into their next interactions. What an impact you may have made just from smiling at people!
So do it today and every day from now on. Smile at at least 10 people every day. You’re not flirting, you’re not being weird. You’re being happy and friendly. You’re being rational because you know the effects it has we explained above. Smile at the bus driver, the person on your checkout at the shops, the security guard at the shopping centre, the delivery person dropping off your parcel, your coworkers, your partner, your kids, anyone that you make eye contact with. Just smile at 10 people a day and see the difference it makes on your life and your positivity.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!