The science behind it is that not only do our emotions cause us to make certain facial expressions, but making facial expressions also causes us to feel emotions. When we half-smile, we are sending a message to the brain that something has made us happy, and we feel good. The brain acts in turn, and we end up feeling a bit better.
Here are some examples of half smiles. Study them closely before reading on. Try to replicate them.:
Today at work, I decided to take the “half-smile” a step further. I used opposite action.
I felt a bit down, and the action behavior that tends to go with that is withdrawing. I decided to be “half-joyful.” I smiled at others. I engaged in conversation even when I didn’t really feel like it — not in a fake way…it was genuine, because in my heart, I do want to connect with others. I want to engage in conversations, be liked, and have something to offer.
Just as half-smiling can feel awkward at first, so did being half-joyful, but, I have to tell you: it worked. There was something about pushing myself to be kinder, to smile more, and to listen to what others had to say, that helped me to also have a more rewarding and happy day.
There’s something to this stuff.
Thank you for reading.
PS… I enjoyed this video made my our young peer, Hannah, on her understanding of the Half Smile skill and how it’s helped her: