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Predominantly I've talked about what helps within business, but this week I want to talk about something far simpler, yet powerful: smiling ... 
With Christmas done and a New Year looming, this is always a time for reflection. 2019 has been a fantastic year for me. It has not always been an easy one, but I can look back and say to myself “Yes! It was a good year”. 
For those that know me, I am a natural smiley person – it is something that comes naturally to me. So, when I’m walking down the street and somebody passes by, if eye contact is made, I smile and 9 times out of 10 I either get a smile back or a greeting of some kind (always a positive one). I know that makes me feel good and I hope that it does the same to the passer-by. 
We walk past dozens of people every day – each and every one has their own stresses and demands, so if a smile can help lift the burden or make someone feel seen, even if for only for a few seconds, then it’s worth doing. 
"A smile is powerful. It can change your mood, your feelings, even your actions!" 
So, with this in mind, I thought I would do look into this a bit further and discovered what smiling can do for you both emotionally and physically: 
1. Relieves Stress 
Stress can really show up in our faces. Smiling helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down and overwhelmed. When you are stressed, take time to put on a smile. The stress should be reduced, and you'll be better able to take action. 
2. Boosts Your Immune System 
Smiling helps the immune system to work better. When you smile, immune function improves possibly because you are more relaxed. 
3. Lowers Your Blood Pressure 
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home. Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference? 
4. Releases Endorphins, Natural Painkillers and Serotonin 
It has been scientifically proven that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Together these three make us feel good. Smiling is a natural drug and not one that is going to harm you. 
5. Makes You Seem Successful 
Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently. Would you want to approach somebody that has a frown on their face? 
6. Makes Us Attractive 
We are drawn to people who smile. There is an attraction factor. We want to know a smiling person and figure out what is so good. Frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away, but a smile draws them in. 
7. Changes Our Mood 
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There's a good chance your mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood. 
8. Smiling Is Contagious 
I am one of those people that when walking down the street, will automatically smile at anyone that makes eye contact and 9 out of 10 will smile back. When someone is smiling, they lighten up the room, change the moods of others and make things happier. A smiling person brings happiness with them. 
9. Makes You Look Younger 
The muscles we use to smile lift the face, making a person appear younger. So you don't have to go for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day - you'll look younger and feel better. 
10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive 
Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It's hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that "Life is good!" Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling – smiling may not be a cure all, but it certainly helps. 
"Do what makes you smile ... it's a wonderful thing!" 
So, when I have those days of feeling like there is nothing to smile about, that life is too stressful, all I have to do is look at a picture of my son and my grandchildren or think about something my partner, Steve, has said only that morning and I smile, the biggest smile of all – a smile of immeasurable love and pride - and that is what keeps me going. 
Until next time ... 
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