A Smile Is Contagious   Leave a comment

When I was in college I used to play a game as I walked around campus. I would smile. I smiled and looked people in the eye, and I counted the number of people who would look me in the eye and smile right back. It felt good to smile. It felt even better to have a complete stranger smile back at me. It’s an experience beyond words. And there was an extra thrill when someone smiled back at me who had not previously been smiling, because I knew that I had brightened their day even if just for a second. Yes, there were many more people whose eyes were trained on the ground, or studiously avoiding looking at anyone else, and whose faces were intently serious; but it’s about quality, not quantity.

Smiling feels good. A smile is friendly, encouraging, loving, kind, peaceful, and relaxing. Even when the day isn’t exactly smile-icious, putting on a genuine smile can make everything brighter (probably because in order to make it genuine, you have to be conscious of the good things all around you).

Admittedly I don’t play the game as often now. It’s entirely different in an office of people I know and who know me, and it seems I’m always concentrating on something else when I’m in a public place. But every once in a while it is good to have a reminder that smiling feels good, and that it is contagious. When someone smiles at you, even if you don’t know them, smile back. You’ll make yourself happier and improve someone else’s day as well.

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Posted November 12, 2010 by mayakey in musings, psychology

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