Flash your co-workers to make them happier. (Flash them a smile, that is.)
Today is Smile Power Day (SPD). Until someone told me about it, I didn’t even know it existed. It’s pretty much a day that encourages us to smile and to be thankful for all the good things in our lives.
What Have They Got to do With The Workplace?
We all know offices can be stressful. Tight deadlines, heavy workloads and short lunches. This pressure can start to affect us. Our mood changes and that radiates out to colleagues. They pick up on our feelings and notice we’re a bit grumpier and more prone to being snippy. What happens? They start to feel more annoyed too. And so it on goes.
How do you stop this avalanche of annoyance? This hailstorm of ill-humour? #Smile.
You see, there are lots of terribly interesting studies into how smiling affects people, and it’s in these that we begin to see its power.
One bit of research I found said that, when shown pictures of smiling and not-smiling faces, participants in a test rated the smiling ones as as happier, more attractive and more intelligent.That’s already pretty amazing, but it gets ‘amazing-er’ when you learn that another study found people that smile were also rated higher for honesty, kindness and sense of humour.
Finally, the ‘piece of resistance’ is that smiling might actually make you feel better; I’ve read that it can help release ‘happiness’ chemicals into our body and even spark a similar sensation in those around us. Yes, it might be contagious.
Hands up if you’d like to work in an office full of happy, beautiful, clever, honest, kind and funny colleagues, who make you feel good about yourself? (My hand is up in the air right now, by the way. That’s why I’m typing so slowly.)
There’s one wrinkle to this, though: if you’re a go-getter, you might be naturally dour.
In another experiment, subjects were asked to imagine they wanted to get a part-time job, either a low-status position or a high-status one. Weirdly, the researchers found those that wanted the important job smiled less. Maybe it’s because they felt that high-power roles required grim determination?
Whatever the reason, I think learning to smile is also about taking yourself a little bit less seriously than normal. You might wear a sharp suit with padded shoulders, but you’re never fully dressed without a smile.
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Previously on The Euroffice Blog…