At the conclusion of a tour of the hotel where I was working my brother turned to me with a phony grin on his face and asked, “Does your face hurt at the end of the day from all that smiling?” If it was forced, it would have bothered me but I’ve never had to pop pain relievers to counteract the ill effects of a grin.
Pre-school students sit in circles and sing, “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.” You probably remember the rest of the song, or many potential verses. Hand clapping, toe tapping and belly rubbing are not required at work, a simple smile will do. And you can skip the song.
When the all too common discussion of miserable employees came up with a group of manufacturing managers last week we talked about the decisions we make concerning our attitude and approach towards work. If our arrival at work has been preceded by a malfunctioning alarm clock, surly teenager and a traffic jam it can be hard to break the mood. It’s our choice, make a decision to allow the cloud to lift when the day starts and many times before we leave, or stay in a funk that settles and spreads. Share the gloom and co-workers will steer clear or stop by to commiserate.
There are days, situations and weeks when cheeriness should be confined to a random joke or dark humor to cut the tension. Bright faces should be tough to spot in announcing a layoff or steep business drop. A business downturn makes it even more meaningful to crack a smile when it is appropriate.
If your underutilized facial muscles need some practice start using the technique outside of work. Don’t be surprised if you get your coffee just a bit quicker when you smile at the barista. Be prepared for the usually sullen teen that breaks into a wide smile. It may be part of a ploy to get you to take out your wallet or they may have caught on to some infectious happiness.
Who have you smiled at today?