We may have all heard from our parents to smile more. Some of us may have read studies or have heard that by smiling, we can feel better and give ourselves an instant boost in our mood. There is the story of a distance runner that saw photos of herself grimacing while running and then started to smile while running and found that she enjoyed the journey more after that change.
I recently read an article about how when someone sees another persons smile, their stress and aggression levels drop. Researchers studied a group of teens in a residential facility by showing them a series of different faces and expressions on a computer screen. Even when this group was shown faces that did not have a defined expression, the teens experienced negative feelings. The research team worked with the youth to teach them they should not perceive neutral to be negative. Within two weeks, staff at the facility noted that kids who were trained to read neutral faces had less aggressive behavior. The kids themselves also reported that they felt less aggressive too.
This research got me thinking about how a big part of mentoring is simply offering a kid your smile. Kids in our program say the best lines, it is almost impossible to not give at least one smile. Mentors are often seen smiling the entire time they are with their students. For some kids in our area, they don’t get constant smiles at their house. Being a mentor is one way to help these kids fill that void in their life. So…take a minute and smile. Smile at a stranger. Don’t walk through the grocery store on a mission and avoid eye contact with everyone. Just smile. You won’t regret it.
Post by Michelle Madsen