Are you a stranger smiler? I always feel like I need to smile at someone as I pass them in the street. If I don’t, or I avert my eyes, I always feel, well, wrong. There have been many times where the other person has averted their eyes, or even worse, just stared at me stone cold. But that does not bother me because I know that I feel better when I take the time to smile at them, and they feel better deep down too.
There are those regular strangers who I see on my walk/run around the local area, like the elderly gentleman who walks very slowly, and usually on the same days at the same time as me. As I come up behind him I am smiling before I even reach him, as I know his reaction to my smile and hello, will be one of a lit up face and genuine joy at the communication between us.
One of my other favourite smiling moments is when you catch a child’s eye and their parents are totally oblivious to your interaction. There is often a shy smile at first as they check to see if you are friendly and when you do open up and smile, their reaction is one of pure and honest delight, it is such a joy. I had that experience when I was walking today and the little girl and I shared a moment as we passed, while her mum chatted with a friend.
I think smiling at elderly people and small children is even more important as they can feel unnoticed as we all rush by them. But aside from all of this, smiling is actually good for you, in many ways.
Here are just 3 reasons why you need to smile at a stranger today.
1) The Feel Good Factor
Smiling can actually make you happy, even when you are not! Smiling sends a message to your brain that you are happy. Your body then responds by pumping out those feel good endorphins, and we all want more of that! And it also makes the other person happy! You are doing a good deed by smiling at that stranger passing by. The old saying of “smile and the whole world smiles with you” is true! When someone around us smiles, we tend to smile back. but even if the other person doesn’t give you a smile, they will feel happier.
2) It reduces stress and anxiety
Smiling may help to reduce the feelings of anxiety – like a racing heart, sweating and that terrible feeling in your tummy. Next time you feel your stress levels rising, stop and smile, then focus on your breathing and slow it right down, breathing innnnnn and outtttt and smile! When your smile signals to your brain that you’re feeling happy (even if you are totally freaking out at the time), your body will usually slow its breathing and heart rate, which will aid you in calming down.
3) You have moments of offline connections
Noticing another human being as you pass by them in the street and giving them a smile, helps to remind you that we are all the same and we need each other to have a happy, healthy life. We are so connected to our online lives that we need to stop and experience moments of connection offline. There is always something terrible happening in the world and we are bombarded with these awful images and stories. Smiling at someone as you pass them by reminds you of all the good in the world.
So smile at a stranger today and reap the rewards! Are you a smiler too?