We all know a smiley person, you might be one of them.
When we see someone smiling it brightens our day and can make us smile too. When we smile, we make other people smile. We call this 'passing on a smile!' and often encourage children to try this too, cat posture is a great way to pass a smile round the circle in happy cat.
Smiling is linked to happiness, the contraction of the smiling muscles in our face create a positive feedback loop to the brain, stimulating our reward mechanism, and the really good news is that a smile has been found to be more stimulating than chocolate and as stimulating as receiving a large cash sum. The best things in life really are free!!!
When we smile we feel happier and when we feel happy we smile more, it feeds itself.
Obviously we are not going to feel happy and like smiling all the time, but there is some good news. Smiling is not only an automatic reaction, we can smile whenever we want and whether we actually mean it or not, our facial muscles still send messages to our brain to stimulate our reward mechanism. Try it for yourself, paint a big smile on your face, one that not only turns the corners of your mouth but that makes your eyes smile too, then try to think of something bad, it's not so easy.
We can use this and teach children and other adults to use this as a tool for resilience, we cannot change a negative situation, but if we can find a smile then it helps to find positive thoughts. Laughter really is the best medicine.
We can even use smiling to help our general mental health. Just like 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away', 'a smile a day keeps negative thoughts away'.
Tips for smiling more often:
Draw a smiley face on your hand to remind yourself to take a smile break, or to make others smile
Leave yourself and others a post it note smile and pass them on
When you wake up have a stretch and a smile to start the day in a positive way
Sneak a smile every time you pass a mirror or window
Smile at strangers
Surround yourself with things and people that make you smile.
In our special focus you can find our game 'put a smile on your face' to play with the children (or in the staff room!!!) and here are some smiley quotes to inspire you, which is your favourite?
"A smile is happiness you find right under your nose" "A warm smile is the universal language of kindness" "Peace begins with a smile" "Use your smile to change the world, but don't let the world change your smile" "Smile at strangers and you might save a life" "A smile is the prettiest thing you wear" "When all else fails, smile" "Smile at the obstacle for it is a bridge"