Civility Tip of the Week: Smile

“The shortest distance between two people is a smile.” – Anonymous

If you want to positively impact the world around you, but you’re not sure how to begin, here’s a great way … just smile!

There are far-reaching benefits for such a simple gesture. The more you smile, the more positive reactions you’ll elicit. Smiling is proven to create a ripple effect as it passes from one person to another.

Daniel Goleman, the author of Social Intelligence, writes, “Smiles have an edge over all emotional expressions: the human brain prefers happy faces, recognizing them more readily and quickly than those with negative expressions—an effect known as the ‘happy face advantage.’”

Behavioral change expert and researcher Mark Stibich reports that smiling has many personal benefits: It boosts the immune system, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and positively affects people’s perceptions of you.

When Patrick Quinlan was CEO of Oshman Healthcare, he introduced something called the “10-5 way.” When employees were within 10 feet of each other or a patient, they made eye contact and smiled. When they were within 5 feet, they also said “hello.” This simple act caused workplace civility to spread, patient and workplace satisfaction to improve, and patient referrals to increase.

Smiling is a great connector. It reflects happiness and serves as a simple act of kindness toward others. Smiling can build bridges of connection and communicate empathy. Smiling promotes cooperation and collaboration.

Want to spread civility? Start with a smile!

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