Louis Michael: Isn’t it funny how much a smile can do?
I spend a lot of time smiling. I was told once that the physical act of smiling has been proven to be able to actually increase happiness. So I started smiling at myself in mirrors. And then eventually I started smiling at other people – people on the bus, people in the streets, the cashier and the barista and the bus driver. I found that even if the physical act of smiling making you happy wasn’t sound science, there was no disputing that the happiness of others definitely left you warm and content.
And the more I smiled at people, the more smiles I got back. I realised I had stumbled upon a kind of magic; from the simple act of smiling I could turn faceless strangers into warm friends, and in turn it made the world a much friendlier place.
Sometimes I’ll even get a “hello” or “good morning”, and that brief purely friendly connection between two strangers is all the sweeter for the way it touches on a world where all humans are default friends rather than default strangers.
Eventually it got me thinking about the gaps between people.
We live in a world structured around words. Although in one sense this is brilliant because it means we can communicate with each other in complex and in depth ways, it’s also a bit of a burden because it simultaneously means we’ve forgotten how to communicate with each other in any other way. Did you know that 60% of communication is non verbal? Everything from the clothes you wear to your body language, to the minor movements of your eyes, are ways we communicate with each other, let alone all the cutting edge science that suggests we are also susceptible to the energetic frequencies our brains emit. And our intuition is in fact us perceiving this emotional information from each other.
That’s why smiling is so great. It’s the non verbal way to let people know you’re wishing them well, that you hope the best for them, that despite the fact you have no personal ties to them you love them for the very fact of their being, and the humanity that you share. A simple smile is the key to reconnecting humanity. Let’s be friends, not strangers. All we have to do is smile.