I was talking to a girlfriend about the Share a Smile campaign I created for the Be the Difference Movement and she said, ‘Well that’s just commonsense, it’s what everyone does’. Now I can understand how she could think that, she’s a very friendly person, but if you take note of how many people you cross paths with over the course of a day, in the street, at work, in a shop you’ll most likely find that not many people exchange smiles.
There are so many benefits to be gained from smiling from making you feel good, to making it easier to make social connections.
A smile can change a life
There are countless stories of people who have been about to end their life because they have felt worthless, lonely and invisible only to have crossed paths with a stranger who gave them a genuine smile, and that smile was all it took to motivate them to turn their life around.
CamMi Pham grew up in Vietnam in a very wealthy family, her life was good until her father was accused of participating in a financial scam and he was served with a lawsuit. Years later CamMi’s father was cleared of all charges but during that time the family lost their money and even worse were ostracised by their friends.
CamMi’s parents decided to move to Canada a transition that CamMi found incredibly hard. She didn’t speak the language. The kids at school made fun of her and wanted nothing to do with her. She didn’t want to burden her parents so she kept her feelings to herself. She felt that no-one wanted her until one day a stranger looked her in the eyes and smiled. It was the first time that someone had smiled at her in a long time and it is something that she says she will never forget. Cami says, “That moment changed my life. From that day on, I promised myself I would always smile and treat everyone I met like they were family”.
109 volunteers participated in a study on the benefits of smiling and this was followed up by a poll on 1000 adults. They used an electromagnetic brain scan machine and heart rate monitor to measure brain and heart activity to measure what boosted particpants moods.
They found that a child’s smile created the same level of stimulation as one would get from eating 2000 chocolate bars, or receiving a large amount of cash (in excess of $10,000).
They also found that smiling created a short term high better than sex, shopping and chocolate.
Now all smiling benefits both the giver and the receiver but it seems that some people’s smiles are more valuable to us. Smiles from friends and people we love rate higher than a smile from a stranger, as do smiles from people we admire.
We urge you to smile at everyone you meet today, and not just a quick upturn of the lips. Where possible genuinely look into the eyes of a stranger and share a genuine smile. Look into the eyes of your children, family, friends and smile, these are the people we often overlook. You just don’t know what a difference that smile could make.
Here are some of the benefits you can gain from smiling more, you’ll find more on our Share a Smile campaign page.
Smiling is as stimulating to your brain as receiving a large amount of cash
Smiling is an antidepressant.
Smililng reduces sress
Smiling makes you approachable
Smiling makes you happier
Look up our campaign and try it for yourself and share your positive stories with us.