Five reasons to begin with a smile Five reasons to begin with a smile

This manner of contact brings a life of positive emotions that favors personal, social and work development.

Medical advisors clinical Psychologist, Lucila Amparo Céspedes Gallego
Clinical Psychologist, Juan D. Tobón Lotero

A few years back a photographer embarked on a journey around India. As he roamed the streets he remarked on an individual that was leaning on a line of motorbikes and who was being illuminated by the lights of a shop.

His face was grave and he had a beard and was wearing a skullcap. The photographer lifted his camera but hesitated on seeing the severity of his expression and his “gaze of stone.”

He decided to look at other aspects of the place until he heard a voice saying, “Take a photo of me, too.” He turned around and asked the individual to smile. His face transformed. “It irradiated warmth, his eyes shone with humor that was not previously there. Even his posture softened. Then I knew what my next project would be.”

The name of the photographer is Jay Weinstein and his project “Then I asked them to smile” @soiaskedthemtosmile on Instagram that has served to document the effect of a smile on a strangers face. “This simple act,” says Weinstein after traveling around several countries photographing men and women, “even if it is forced, transforms a face, changes the way in which we see a person and it is something universal that surpasses religions, ethnia, class, gender and language.”

It is enough to look ourselves in the mirror to notice the effect on us. Beyond the physical transformation and beyond our medical studies that show that when we laugh we liberate endorphins and other substances that benefit the organism, Clinical Psychologists Lucila Amparo Céspedes Gallego and Juan Diego Tobón Lotero indicate some of the benefits for the mind.

1. It provides for Self-knowledge

“This is the opportunity to go inward. When the person does not know himself well,” says clinical psychologist Lucila Amparo Céspedes “He will know what brings him well being, what makes him feel well and what makes him happy and, consequently, what makes him smile.” It can be reading, a kind of movie, dancing, going out with friends, a meal, exercising. “That is part of well being and the way I take care of myself, what I do for my mental health,” indicates the specialist.

2. Finding positive answers

A smile, a good laugh, generates calming emotions that are agreeable to us and to others. An authentic smile transmits the message that you are a trustworthy individual and that you are more accessible than others. Also one that is well disposed toward others will get more positive results because it is an act that transmits kindness.

3. It recovers childhood spontaneity

An unprepared smile, a much-desired smile makes us remember the way in which we laughed in childhood. A natural smile allows us to express ourselves and be ourselves. In some way, it is about recovering the ability to play, the luster. Learning to laugh about oneself and about certain everyday situations that really don’t need to be burdened with so much drama is what this is all about.

4. Connects with others

Tobón Lotero comments that a smile makes sense in so far as it transmits emotions. It produces a reaction from a non-verbal language because it is a very powerful communication tool. Smiles produce feedback: it is something natural that has to do with human contact. “Smile and half of the world will smile with you. Frown and you will be frowning alone.” This is a phrase that explains itself well and that the Personality and Social Psychology Society shares.

5. The meaning of life finds a balance

It is necessary to understand that we are a weft of emotions; that it is well to smile, but also to accept that there are moments when one is sad. One needs to understand, also, that we are different and that our processes must be undertaken in that difference. Psychologists explain that not everybody that smiles is happy especially in a world that looks outward and on the social networks, where so many people hide behind masks.

Being coherent

Some quoted studies of the National Library of Medicine of the United States claim that when we smile even if genuinely, the brain will receive that information and will interpret it as a positive state that will yield its benefits. Psychologist Lucila Amparo Céspedes Gallego insists on the importance of being coherent and of working internally to produce joy and optimism that will really carry a sincere smile into life.

See also: 5 tips for a healthy smile