Today in church we sat behind a family that had a little boy, probably two years old, that would turn around and look at us then quickly look away. We were pretending not to look at him until the third time he did it, I caught his eye and smiled at him. He instantly smiled and didn’t turn back around right away. He and I gestured nonverbally (we didn't disturb the sermon too much) back and forth until his parents noticed and turned him around. I felt a little bad for getting him in trouble, but he spurred a thought, how come children share a smile so quickly.
My children and I sometimes play a game in the mall called the smile game. The rules are simple, you need to get someone to smile at you simply by smiling at them. Whoever gets the most return smiles by the end of the mall trip wins. Adults are not so easy to give you a smile. They will look at you, but either quickly look away or just pretend they didn’t see you. Through playing this game we realized there is a trick to getting adults to smile, it works like this:
1. Start with a straight face
2. Look casually at a person walking past you
3. As soon as you catch their eye flash them a quick smile
When you follow these steps seven out of ten people will flash you a quick smile. If you get good at it, you can increase your return smiles to 8 and even 9 out of ten people returning the smile.
How come as we grow older, we are more reserved with our smile? Do our smiles get muted through time because of tough or sad experiences? Is a serious demeanor expected in the world of work? Have you been around a person who is serious, angry, or solemn all the time? What do you feel when you are around them?
On the other hand, what brings a smile to a person’s face? Or how do you allow a smile to be quick to your lips? Are quick smiles a skill? Is it something that you must intentionally do?
According to SCLHealth.org, “When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress.” The article continues, “One study even suggests that smiling can help us recover faster from stress and reduce our heart rate. In fact, it might even be worth your while to fake a smile and see where it gets you. There’s been some evidence that forcing a smile can still bring you a boost in your mood and happiness level.”
What would happen in our world if more people smiled more often? How would the world change? What if you smiled more often and smiled more often at others, how would your life change? Now I am not talking about creepy smiles, but intentional good willed smiles. These types of smiles will change the world! So are you up for setting a streak? How about a streak to smile at least one time every day at yourself or another person? Try this simple streak and see what it does to change your life and the world. You will see and feel the difference.