The Wisdom of Annie
Remember Annie, the incurable optimist who looked toward a better tomorrow and gleefully sang “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”? Well, she’s right. We need to put on a smile before we greet our families. There is a magic in your smile that will brighten your spouse’s day and your children’s lives. Your smile can impact your whole family in at least three ways.
- Smiling is contagious. Seeing you smile will activate a brain response in your spouse and children that will encourage them to smile as well. We like to see people smile. Everyone looks better when they smile. Smiling people are more fun to be around. And, if you’re like me, you definitely enjoy a smiling family more than a frowning, sulky one! So smile and watch your family smile with you!
- Smiling activates shower of “feel-good neurotransmitters” like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins in the brain. This is like getting a free “all natural, health enhancing, mod boosting, feel-good” brain shower. Dopamine gives us a sense of feeling rewarded. It helps us feel good. Smiling releases dopamine and we feel rewarded; we feel good. Endorphins are natural pain killers. Smiling can reduce the sensation of pain. Serotonin is a mood enhancer. Your smile offers you and your observing family (since smiling is contagious) a little feel-good brain shower. It’s all natural and health enhancing. So smile around your family and let the contagious feel-good family brain shower begin.
- Smiling makes us more approachable. A smile is inviting. It communicates a willingness to engage and interact. Smile—the more you do, the more likely your family will view you as approachable and available. The more likely your spouse and children will come to you to talk when they are used to seeing your smiling face! You will be the one they come to for advice, a listening ear, and plain old enjoyable conversation. Knowing your family wants to come to you for conversation is enough to make anyone smile…and when you do you’ll be even more approachable!
Annie was right. “You’re never fully dressed without a smile.” When you smile more, your family will smile more. When you share smiles with your family, everyone will enjoy a lovely shower of “all natural, health enhancing, mood boosting, feel-good” brain chemicals. And, when you smile you increase the likelihood of your spouse and children coming to you when they need to talk. For the sake of your family, finish getting dressed…put on that smile.