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Be the First to Smile

2 minutes

I was shopping for groceries at Wegmans, and a woman passed by me as I was picking out some avocados. We made eye contact, but neither of us smiled.

It felt awkward. Was she in a bad mood? Was I in a bad mood?

Maybe she didn’t smile because I didn’t smile…

I grabbed my avocados and headed to the prepared meals area when I almost bumped into a man wearing headphones. He whispered “sorry”, but he didn’t smile.

What if you were the first to smile whenever you met someone? You could brighten their day. You could inspire them to smile at the next person. They’ll probably smile back. Smiles are contagious.

Imagine if everyone smiled more. The world would be a better place.

Granted, smiling could have different meanings in some cultures. In Russia, for example, some people might consider smiling at strangers to be unusual or even suspicious.

But smiling is generally seen as friendly and pleasant.

…even a “forced” smile has its benefits…

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

What are the benefits of smiling?

  • Smiles make us appear more trustworthy.
  • They make us more attractive.
  • Endorphins are released and lift our mood.

The best smiles are Duchenne smiles, which are smiles that not only raise the corners of the mouth, but also raise the cheeks and slightly squint the eyes. Give it a try and pay attention to any changes in your mood.

I eventually made a lap around the store and saw the woman again. I smiled this time. And she smiled back with a glimmer in her eye.

Be the first to smile and see what happens. See how it makes you feel.

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