I woke up this morning thinking about a young man whom I met this week and whose smile left a smile in my heart. I was taken aback because three years ago when I first met him, his face was always so serious that I found it very difficult to relax around him. He was a very qualified individual who secured many interviews but had difficulties in securing a job.
In a nutshell, three years ago he was struggling in adapting to his new environment and also with learning English as a second language. Automatically, it created a high level of stress as he tried to focus on interpreting what was being said to him. This deep focus caused him to lose his smile during his first interactions with anyone at all. His interviewers found him to be ‘too serious’ and ‘lacked interpersonal skills’. As difficult as this may sound, first impressions are very important during interviews and unfortunately employers don’t have the time to analyze why you may have lost your smile.
Three years later, it is so much easier for him to smile freely because the language flows much easier and he is now more comfortable with his environment. He has also been able to secure permanent employment and is now creating a plan for career growth. His interpersonal skills are much more visible now and he creates a great first impression.
Your facial expression, dress and body language are all interconnected.
So, what is it about smiling that connects us with others? Here are two quotes to think about:
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” William Arthur Ward
“A smile is the universal welcome.” Max Eastman
Personally, I love being around people who smile, laugh and bring a positive aura into my space. Research proves that smiling and laughing create physiological changes in our bodies, even when we are not aware of it.
There are several huge benefits to smiling and laughing:
- The muscles in our faces relax and makes us look more approachable. It invites others into our presence. Employers and coworkers find that people who smile create a happier work environment. Even at home and with friends, our smiles and laughter enhances our communication.
- Endorphins are released into our bodies. Endorphins are happy hormones which has several benefits of lowering our blood pressure and reducing production of cortisol which is a stress hormone.
- When smiles break into laughter, it expands our lungs which brings more oxygen into our bodies. This gives the same feeling as though you have exercised!
My tip for this post: Practice smiling. If it does not come naturally to you, fake it until it happens automatically. Find things to smile about and hang around people who inspire smiles and laughter.