Okay, I’ll admit, this may be because Annie was my favorite movie as a child, but I’m of the opinion that you’re “never fully dressed without a smile.” This dawned on me when I was writing an employee handbook and the subject of dress code came up. Of course, at work we should be neat and presentable, but shouldn’t we also be positive and happy? So, I threw in a line about smiling!
I tested my theory years ago on a client who was really unhappy at work. She came to me because she hated her job, and wanted to explore new possibilities. She didn’t know what she wanted to do, so she wasn’t exactly in the position to quit tomorrow. It could take months or years to tackle career change, but she was MISERABLE at work. She said her co-workers were nasty and it was causing her a lot of stress. I suggested smiling more at work until she was ready to begin her new business venture. Why spend the next year miserable, right?
She thought I was nuts. “Smile, more? How can I smile when I hate it there?” But, desperate to get out of her funk, she decided to take my advice. Within a few weeks, her attitude toward work had done a complete 180! Her work relationships improved, and she was also assigned a new project that she was really excited about.
Why does a simple smile matter? Well, to be honest, I started thinking about the “smile factor” again when I was writing this handbook, and realized that without fail, every time something was going well in my life, I was smiling. And every time something went awry, I was not. This is true for every aspect of our lives: work, relationships, wellness. You name it, and the “smile factor” plays a role.
For example, think about the dreaded word “diet.” Most people can’t say it and smile at the same time. As a matter of fact, most diets I’ve tried have failed simply because I hated being on them! Wellness works for me because I enjoy living well without being bound by the “on” or “off” chains of dieting. And I smile more when I’m not running to the scale.
Follow these simple tips to be positive and you’ll soon see the power of a smile:
Check Your “Favorites”
The things we are drawn to are merely a reflection of what we’re thinking. If we’re drawn to negative things, perhaps it’s a sign we can’t ignore. Look at the people you gravitate to and the things you like to read, watch, do, listen to, and take inventory. Do you spend most of your time surrounded by people/things that are positive? If your favorite television shows are filled with drama and sarcasm, or your favorite tunes are dragging you down, try switching the station. You’ll get amped up in no time!
Thankful people are happy people. No matter what our situation is, we can always find something in it to be thankful for, right? Make your list and keep it in plain sight. Add to it when things pop up, and have fun with it! Be thankful for that perfect cup of morning coffee—I know I am, with a six-week-old and a two-year old running around!
Do Something Silly
When we take ourselves too seriously, we can end up in a rut. Often when I find myself moving toward a funk, I do something super-silly to get myself out of it. So, jump for joy, dance around the room, sing loud in your car, climb a tree! Just have fun with your life, and you’ll find your fun is contagious!
Say Nice Things
Some of us are “complimenters” by nature. If I see something I love, I automatically comment on it. But sometimes, we’re in such a rush or so self-absorbed we don’t even notice the people or things around us. Be more present and say nice things. If the cashier is wearing a great pair of earrings, tell her! If your neighbors planted new flowers, just by noticing you can make their day! If we get outside ourselves and say nice things to others, we automatically can lift our own spirits, too! And, to get super-positive, up the ante by doing nice things! Karma is amazing.