One Gesture, Major World Impact


Brianna

Several years back there was a man that made his way toward the Golden Gate Bridge, pulled himself over the rail, and jumped falling 245 feet to his death. It was later discovered in the man’s suicide letter that, “if one person smiles at me on the way, I won’t jump.” Smiling is the easiest, and arguably most important gesture a human being can do. It can improve one’s health, help one excel in a their career, and even save lives.

If you don’t smile for others, at least smile for yourself. Smiling is proven to reduce stress levels, improve your immune system, and reduce pain as well. In a study conducted by University of Kansas, individuals who smile more frequently tend to have a lower heart rate during pressured situations opposed to those that don’t. Smiling is associated with comfort and acceptance which triggers the appropriate response to the brain which then sends endorphins (hormones that make you happy and energized) to the body and reduces the amount of cortisol, a hormone which is directly related to stress levels, and therefore makes an individual cope with stressors more effectively. When the endorphins are sent to your body, they also act as a supplemental pain killer. If you bang your toe and find a reason to smile afterwards, the hormones that your brain releases can actually numb or distract the pain for a short while…and you thought smiling wasn’t that big of a deal…

Moving on, smiling just might land you your dream job. Smiling not only displays confidence, but it also signifies trust. Studies show that we are more trustful of others when they smile and smile genuinely. Trust is an important part of social health when dealing with people, whether they be potential employers, loved ones or simply a stranger. Compared to the amount of individuals who don’t find it necessary to smile at others throughout their day are less likely to be chosen for a job offer or be approached for a promotion if the employer doesn’t undeniable trust them. Smiling makes you stand out in a sea of frowns which can truly get you noticed in the workforce for being a sociable, empathetic, confident, and trustworthy individual.

Lastly, smiling increases productivity. For all my fellow college students who are struggling to find a force stronger than procrastination (and whose tolerance for caffeine has hit a wall), I have a solution!! S – M – I – L – E…we’ve arrived in the future! But honestly, smiling has been proven to increase productivity while working on a given task. For those of you who work a desk job, don’t pass off the cat videos your co-workers send you as a waste of time. The little moments of laughter they bring are enough to keep an individual motivated for an increased amount of time therefore they’re able to work harder and get more accomplished.

Overall, I urge the importance of smiling not only to spread worldwide kindness, but also to show the benefits that lie beneath the surface. There are no consequences accompanied by a smile. I encourage any individual to smile as often and as regularly as they see fit so that they may improve their health, have the leg up in a competitive job market, and be a more productive/effective person.

Yes, there are personal benefits to showing off your pearly whites, however, let us not forget the most important reason to smile. You never know how much a single moment can impact someone’s life. A smile is not just a gesture, it’s an impression, a moment, a feeling you transfer to someone else. Take just a moment; go out of your way to make someone’s day special. Leave a random note saying “smile” or “you’re beautiful” where someone can find it. Smile at a stranger. Give money to a charity. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in years. Tell someone you like their shirt. Send a handwritten letter. A few seconds of your time could mean the world to someone. It could make them smile.

Someone’s life could be better off because of your smile; the world could be better off because of your smile.

Mia Kagianas

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