One of the best "tools" for connecting with people is a genuine smile.
Note, however, the word "genuine." In a 30-year study, researchers began by going through 141 photos in a Mills College (Oakland, California) yearbook, and marking those with more genuine smiles. Study participants were then contacted at ages 27, 43, and 52 and asked about their marriage and life satisfaction.
Those with genuine smiles were more likely to get and stay married, and to experience a greater sense of personal well-being. (A Genuine Smiles Goes a Long Way, Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D.)
Other studies suggest smiles may be one of the causes of success. Researchers who analyzed 225 studies involving 275,000 people have concluded that if there is a causation, it goes from smile to success. Genuine smilers tend to be fun, easy to work with, highly motivated, and willing to take on tough problems. A 2005 study published by the American Psychological Association suggests that this is what leads to their success.
So how can you obtain a meaningful smile? Here are 5 tips:
- Cultivate your sense of humor. Funny things are happening all around us. We just need to know what to look for. I highly recommend you get...and use!...Jeanne Robertson's book, Don't Let the Funny Stuff Get Away.
- Avoid smile killers. It's hard to smile when you're whining, for instance. (And conversely, it's hard to whine when you're smiling!)
- Begin the day by deciding to be happy. Count your blessings. Look for the good in others. Be willing to laugh at yourself.
- Practice. Some of us forget to smile. When you catch yourself frowning, lighten up.
- Surround yourself with smilers. According to recent research, people who don't smile have a negative impact on both their friends and strangers. Grumpy persons can decrease your chances of happiness by nearly 10%; smiles can increase your happiness by the same amount.
So for positive connection and greater success, SMILE.