In his landmark work How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie devoted an entire chapter to smiling. Since that time, much digital and actual ink has been spent analyzing the power of the smile (real ones vs. fake ones). What Dale Carnegie knew instinctively from study and life experience has been vindicated by science: smiling is truly and simply powerful.
Set the Tone for the Day
It is said that the smallest action is greater than the grandest intention. Smiling is one of those very small actions with disproportionate effects. It can help you build rapport with strangers, break down barriers with people you may be interacting with for the first time, or even give a bit of inspiration or hope to that person who is not feeling his/her best that day and manages to see you.
Use it as a Weapon Against Challenges
The science of smiling gets reaffirmed in study after study, and apart from it being something you can use to project outwards to affect others positively, you can also use it as a weapon against the challenges and struggles you face every day.
When you smile, dopamine and seratonin are released. These chemicals help relax your body, but also can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. Seratonin specifically acts as an anti-depressant. Endorphins are also released, and they act as natural pain relievers. It turns out "grin and bear it" isn't just stoic advice, it's practical too.
Reflect on Carnegie's Poem
Dale Carnegie wrote a poem about smiling which is likely to crack a smile even among those who smile the least.
It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None are so rich they can get along without it and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in a business, and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anyone 'til it is given away. And if in the hurly-burly bustle of today's business world, some of the people you meet should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give.