Letter to the Editor: Grin yourself a good day


It was 2015. I was in a terrible mood at lunch. I felt my whole day was ruined. I was moping in a corner and all I wanted to do was be left alone.

Next thing I knew, my friend snuck up on me, staring at me deep in the eyes as a creepy smile danced across her face. I looked at her, so upbeat and gleeful, and all I wanted was for her to go away; trying to hold my face in a deep frown, lines slowly crinkling at my eyes. My face not following my brain’s directions as my stone face crumbled. After a minute of this battle, we both broke out in laughter, and for the rest of the day, I totally forgot what I was mad about to start with.

Later that day, I stumbled on an article called, “Top 10 Reasons You Should Smile Every Day.” I was surprised to read that, “Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a chance your mood will change for the better.

Smiling can trick the body into helping you elevate your mood. The physical act of smiling actually activates neural messaging in your brain.” I learned that there is a part of the brain that is responsible for the facial expression of smiling. The movement resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. What this means is smiling can trick the brain into believing you’re happy, which can then make you actually feel happier. Fake it till you make it: even forcing a smile can reduce stress.

Furthermore, I believe in smiling because it can change someone else’s mood and day. Did you know that smiling can be just as contagious as a yawn? Others can actually use that to make people feel happier. Do you know the sweet and sour challenge? It’s where you wave at people and if they wave back they are sweet and if they don’t, they are sour. Do this, but instead smile, and try to make others smile as well. So just take a minute to smile at others and make their day. It requires little energy yet makes a big impact.

I’ve made it a priority to make smiling part of my day. Normally, I take ten seconds alone to smile at myself in the mirror; that works too and makes my mood a little better. So do that. I’m not joking. Smile at yourself. You may feel weird, but it works! Billions of people around the world smile, and I bet you they are happier than the people who frown. So just take a minute to smile at others and make their day. You will be happy, they will be happy, everyone will be happy. If you want to be joyful, content, delighted, jubilant, (all the words you can use), just smile. Smile to the next person you see (even if that’s you).

Avery Selig wrote this piece last year for her seventh grade English class.