Cindy: Did you know there’s something you can do – whenever you want – that’s just as exhilarating as winning a bundle of cash?
Sherwin: Hmmm! I think I’ve heard this one, but I don’t quite remember. What is it?
Cindy: I’m going to count to three, and then I want you to do exactly what I do. Ready? One, two, three:
[Cindy busts out into a huge smile; Sherwin follows immediately.]
Sherwin: Well THAT was easy!
Cindy: Exactly! And we’re not just making this up – science has shown that smiling is pretty powerful. One study showed volunteers various pictures, and found that they were just “as stimulated imagining someone they loved smiling at them as they were by being told they won a cash prize.” Researcher David Lewis added, “A warm smile can create a ‘halo’ effect, helping us ‘feel more optimistic, more positive, and more motivated.'”
Sherwin: You know, I’ve heard that children smile at least 400 times a day, and they’re some of the happiest people I know!
Cindy: True! You know something else that makes children smile? Chocolate. Now kids eat it every chance they get, but we adults tend to crave it more strongly when we’re stressed. But guess what? Studies have revealed that SMILING is a calorie-free way to feel better; a smile can reduce stress-enhancing hormones and increase positive hormones, like endorphins.
Sherwin: So you’re saying I can feel the same satisfaction of eating as much chocolate as I want (with absolutely no judgment) just by smiling?
Cindy: Right! So instead of grabbing a chocolate bar when you’re feeling stressed working late, sitting in mega traffic or on a tarmac, or running around dealing with the holidays, just SMILE!