Smile first, think second

Have you ever heard the saying, “fake it til you make it” or a boss telling you to always answer the phone with a smile? Well, there is some merit behind it. Sometimes your brain is the turtle in the race towards happiness and your actions have the be the hare. I really thought about this the other day when I was making my first video post. When I was watching some of my first playbacks of earlier clips I noticed that I was not smiling when I was talking, and it looked like I was just talking about the benefits of drinking water while being mad. Then I tried it while smiling and the mood behind the video completely changed! I looked happy, friendly, approachable, someone you might want to listen to, and my actual mood changed too! It’s funny how that stuff works.

I bring this topic up because smiling is such an easy thing to do. It not only helps brighten up your mood but it is also contagious to others. Have you ever been in a horrible mood and you either see a picture that makes you smile or smile after somene smiles back at you? Do you ever pay attention as to what happens next? You feel better! Let me explain why that is. Each time you smile your brains feels happy. Smiling activates a muscle response and releases feel-good-messangers that work towards combating stress [1]. Now these messangers benefit you with a whole range of emotions while also releasing dopamine, endorphins, and seratonin into your bloodstream. These series of events not only help your body to relax, but they also work to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Endorphins are really like natural pain killers AND they are 100% naturally and organically produced by your own body! There are no harmful side effects like if you were to take medication [2].

So why would you NOT want to smile? The amazing part is your brain doesn’t know the difference between a fake one or a real one. It is the muscle activity with the smile that starts the whole process. Now, if you are thinking “do I just keep a smile going all day?” the answer is no because you might start to look a bit crazy, but try to smile more in your day and see what a difference it can make. Here are 3 things you can do to help brighten your mood to help you keep smiling:
1. Just start smiling. Like I said before, your brain can’t distinguish between a real or a fake smile. All it knows is something good happened from it. Eventually, the more you ‘fake’ smile the more it will become a natural habit.
2. Spend time with positive people. Remember, smiling is contagious so hanging around people who are fun-loving and cheerful will help you imitate their behavior. By mimicking their behavior, your positive energy will be contagious too.
3. Watch a funny TV show or movie. Watching something that makes you laugh is only going to send this cascade of joyful events into action. Plus, haven’t you heard that laughter is the best medicine?

With all this talk on smiling I think the new phrase should be, “a smile a day keeps the doctor away.” or wait, be like Dori and, “just keep smiling, just keep smiling…” Either way, just SMILE!

Please comment below because I would love to hear what things you like to do to get a smile going!


[1] Seaward BL. Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. Sudbury, Mass.: Jones and Bartlett; 2009:258

[2] R.D. (2000). Neural correlates of conscious emotional experience. In R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitiveneuroscience of emotion (pp. 345–370). New York: Oxford University Press.

7 thoughts on “Smile first, think second

  1. Sarah Kneisler says:

    Check out Laughter Yoga. This activity starts with simple things like singing or saying syllables that start with h like ha, hoo, hee, etc. To break up seminars I have invited participants to sing these syllables to a familiar melody. Just like the positive effects of smiling, the same positive benefits are created when we mimic laughter and then actually start to laugh!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen Kneisler says:

    Hello. I agree wholeheartedly on your smile philosophy. So true. I know that if I’m having a bad day and someone smiles at me I forget what I was feeling bad about and it lifts my mood. Also I have made friends in the hallway at work starting with a smile. A smile can initiate a conversation which leads to getting to know someone better and on to friendship. How simple. Thanks for sharing , Katie. And oh by the way, your smile can light up a room. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Merlin Kneisler says:

    You are such a good writer. I am enjoying the insight you are providing. I noticed that when I talked with the customer at Shopko and smiled too, there usually was a return smile, no matter what mood they appeared to be. Think about your reaction to very young children. You see them and smile at them to get them to smile back. When they do, don’t we feel better and smile even harder. Thanks for your post. Dad

    Liked by 1 person

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