|Decrease Stress, Increase Happiness Series:
By J. Arielle Golden
Ever meet a person and instantly feel your stress buttons being pushed? Ever take an instant dislike to someone? There could be some good reasons for this reaction.
On average, we make up our mind about someone (like, dislike, etc.) within seven seconds of our first meeting. This doesn’t seem fair. Do you think anyone could know all of who you are within seven seconds? No. Why do we do it? Body language.
When people frown, we think they are angry. Our body follows our thinking, and the stress reaction is activated as we prepare for fight or flight. When people smile, we think they are happy. This time our body follows with relaxation instead of stress.
While we make instant impressions about others, we also do this to ourselves. Wake up grumpy, look in the mirror, and there is a grumpy face staring back. Our mind and our body agree: we are in a bad mood. Then we take that bad mood out to our family, friends, and coworkers. Our frown announces to everyone: “Beware, danger is coming.”
I was once involved in the mediation of a dispute between an employee and her supervisor. The employee was certain her boss was out to get her. The manager couldn’t figure out what happened because he claimed she was his star employee. We traced the problem back to its root and discovered it started on a day when the manager was in a bad mood. He came to work, went directly into his office, and slammed the door.
What this manager missed was his smiling employee, ready to greet him with a big “Good morning.” From that moment on, she looked at his actions through the filter of “He hates me, and he’s out to get me.” When we asked the manager why he gave this woman the hardest cases, he said, “She’s my best employee. I wanted her to be competitive for a promotion that’s coming up.”
This is a perfect example of misinterpretation leading to miscommunication. While this might be funny when it is the basis of a sitcom, it’s not so funny when it harms our personal and professional lives.
The cure? Fake it until you make it.
No one wants to be around a grumpy person. Experiment with making a conscious effort to smile, even when you’re feeling grumpy, tired, and irritated. Fake toothy grins are not necessary. Start with making a conscious effort to turn up the corners of your mouth (even when you are working on the computer — computer face can be very scary). Be aware of the people around you, and greet them. Keep it simple. You might notice others smiling back.
Remember when your mom said, “Someday your face will freeze like that.” She was right.
Smile. If you don’t feel like it, fake it until you make it. Then feel your stress draining away.
J. Arielle Golden is a highly sought-after seminar leader, business consultant, and a Licensed Heartmath® Coach. Ms. Golden brings a rich tapestry of experience and knowledge to her keynotes and seminars. Here are just a few of her most requested programs: Communication and Collaboration, Listening Skills, and Developing Your Emotional Intelligence. To arrange to have J. Arielle Golden come into your organization to present a custom program for you, contact our Enterprise Learning Solutions department at 1-800-344-4613.
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Remember first impressions are only made once. Make it a positive one and you will succeed.
Your artical works for me all the time.
" Fake it " I am always SMILING it works .
I see it when the people around me looks grumpy they see me SMILE and start smiling.
Thanks for your great Women's Link.
Very well done and useful. Great work!
Really good article. I can hear Mom saying just that. And how true it is. Smile...it's good for the soul.
Fantastic advice, in fact, it's something I do everyday already. I'd like to add that this holds true to phone conversations as well. Fake a smile even when you are on the phone with someone. It changes the tone of your voice and people can actually tell. The "smile voice" can make the person on the other end respond in a very positive way even when the message isn't what they want.
Great advice! No one likes to work with people who are unpleasant to be around.
Excellent and helpful advice. Thank you.
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