Discussion
  • David, I love this! I try to live everyday with a smile on my face and even more importantly, I try to surround myself with people who do the same. That way, when you are having a bad day, you will always have someone to cheer you up! Hope the internships going great! Nice job with the post :)

    From Samantha Lazaris
    November 7, 2012

  • David, great blog. I’m sitting in my office right now smiling after having read this.
    Lisette

    From Lisette
    November 9, 2012

  • Hey David,

    Great post! You are so right on with this! Everyone that is brought in to H3 represent the best available coming out of college. Some set themselves above the rest and you are one of them. No matter where you land, you are going to do well. The smile is just the start!

    From Lyle Orr
    November 9, 2012

  • Thanks for the positive feedback friends! My smile has improved even more after reading your kind comments =D

    From David Chesworth
    November 9, 2012

The Power of a Smile

From David Chesworth, Program Intern, Fall 2012

There are many factors that contribute to living a good quality of life. On paper it looks easy to accomplish. All you need to do is exercise, eat healthy, and perform tasks with purpose, right? As many of you know this is much easier said than done. Paper does not take into account the motivation and discipline involved in doing so. However, there is something out there that will make this lifestyle transition much easier to accomplish. That something happens to be a smile.   

 

It is difficult to look at this baby picture without feeling the urge to smile. First of all, he is a baby. And second of all, he is smiling. Probably because he knows something you don’t know. Smiles are one of the most contagious things in the world which is a wonderful thing. People often underestimate the power of a smile. Think of a time where you saw a friend (peer/acquaintance/etc…) in passing and he/she smiled to you, gave you eye contact, and said hi. Maybe he/she also threw in a little wave of the hand. Remember how you felt after that moment. Slightly happier than you did the previous moment I would guess… Now think of a time where you saw a friend (peer/acquaintance/etc…) in passing and he/she did not acknowledge you. Remember how you felt after that. You probably felt pretty neutral about it. You might not have even noticed they passed you. I think one way of looking at quality of life is how often happiness is present in ones life. That is why I think greeting people in passing as often as possible is a great way to help spice up your quality of life.

I want you to notice how genuine this baby’s smile is. In fact, he is not even smiling with the conventional U-shaped mouth. There is just something about his face, something about the twinkle in his eyes that make this baby’s happiness very apparent. That is because a smile is more than just adjusting your lips and posing for a picture. A smile consists of dozens of little face muscles working together in order to paint a happy facial expression on your face. Next time you find yourself genuinely smiling I want you to notice those muscles and how it feels when they paint that picture on your face.

When I was a freshman in college, I took a psychology 101 class. To be honest, there are few things I remember from that class. But the most valuable thing I took away from that class was a fun fact that my professor gave us one day. He said that the secretion of serotonin and dopamine hormones (hormones that are associated with elevated mood) are secreted when something causes you to feel happy. This, in turn, may cause you to genuinely smile. Something I find really cool is your brain associates the muscle contractions used in a smile with the secretion of these two hormones. “Therefore”, said my professor, “the more you practice smiling, even if you are not happy, the more your brain will release these two hormones.” Now, I’m not suggesting that forcing a smile when you are unhappy will all of a sudden make you happy, but rather, less unhappy than you were before. Think about the long term effects this could have on your quality of life. You have the power to secrete these mood increasing hormones on demand. The more you practice this over time, the less unhappy you will feel. The better quality of life you have the easier it will be to accomplish new challenges that come your way; things like getting out of bed in the morning, going to work, spending time with family, making wise decisions, and maybe even lifestyle changes.

So the next time you see a friend (peer/acquaintance/etc…) say hi to them and smile. Maybe throw in a wave of the hand or a compliment. The more you do this, the more you are improving your quality life without even knowing it. And the best part is, since a smile is contagious, you just helped improve the quality of life to the person you just said hi to! =D

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