Smiling young girl in ponytails

In my latest podcast I produced a segment about the value of exercising as a way to relieve stress, especially for those of us who feel stressed when speaking.                                                                  Click here for May’s podcast

Since the topic of stress management is so popular with my clients, I wanted to stay with that theme and focus this post on yet another strategy that we may overlook.  In a word– it’s your SMILE.  Sarah Pressman, researcher and Assistant Psychology Professor at University of California, Irvine, had a study published in Journal of Psychological Science in 2013.  Based on the study participants, Ms. Pressman said “We found a steeper decline in heart rate and a faster physiological stress recovery when they were smiling.”  

The Wall Street Journal posted this video on the health benefits of smiling that you may find of interest.  Click here to watch video

When I coach my clients to enhance their public speaking skills, I often emphasize the value of smiling.  It’s quite common to smile infrequently when speaking to others, due to nervousness.  However, as we become increasingly aware of how we come across (especially through video recording) we soon realize that our expression is contagious.  This means that if we, as speakers, use body language (including facial expressions) that conveys tension or discomfort, our audience picks up on these feelings and will experience similar sensations.  The exact same concept applies when speaking on the phone—our smile or lack of it can be heard by others.  In a recent 1/2 day telephone workshop that I conducted, this was one of the major concepts that we addressed.

So always remember to pay attention to your smile factor; it’s good for your own health and those of your audience.   By the way…are you smiling now?

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