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  • Writer's pictureSteve Sweeney

Do As Mr Rourke Says: Smiles Everyone, Smiles.

Updated: Jan 5, 2018

Build a bridge by just using your face.

Obviously I don’t mean a bridge over troubled water. That might hurt. You know that I mean building bridges with people.The tool that I’m talking about with your face is a simple smile. There are studies that indicate positive, tangible effects a smile has on the ones doing the smiling, as well as those witnessing action on the face of another, but you don’t need studies to understand the practical impact a smile has when it is given. Your experience on both sides of that fence should be enough to know a smile is good. Now you may have heard about the number of muscles it takes to smile versus the number it takes to frown, but this isn’t about facial exercise. This is about the powerful emotion a smile can elicit as you wander through your day. So, to where can these bridges lead?

To a better day for a stranger

To a happy place for friends

To less tension

To safety for others

To setting a better overall tone

To a better day for you

1. We’ve all had the experience of a bad or even mundane time that was interrupted by good because a stranger smiled at us. It is a simple offering of care that somehow is a silver lining which gives hope and a reminder that people around us are actually OK.

2. You walk into a gathering and search for a familiar face. Sometimes this makes you intimidated, uncomfortable or lonely. Then you see it. The smile of a friend that attracts you like a powerful magnet to that happy place.

3. If there is an environment of tension, a smile can can be a great diffuser. I’ve found that smiles given and smiles received have worked to bridge gaps of tension. Work scenarios, family gatherings, volunteer groups, or pickup ball games all are better with a smile.

4. In a volatile environment a smiling face can allow others to feel like they have a safe haven. If you’ve been in a toxic situation at home or work, you understand what a friendly gesture can do to help others keep going.

5. Smiles are contagious. It’s not just a facial expression, it’s a visible representation of an attitude. You don’t have to be having a great day to share a smile. You may have experienced a lot of pain or frustration. But "stuff" going on doesn't have to define you. A smile is what you are offering to someone else. It’s an unselfish gift and represents your inner perspective, regardless of your circumstances.

6. If you are bringing joy to others around you, it’s very likely to make others feel better in general. That in turn makes your environment better. It’s a great benefit all around.

So there it is. Use you face to build a bridge. Be the good.

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