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Get unexpected benefits from opening your mouth

3251510062_dffed5d7fd_oHere’s one simple trick to have a more positive effect on others, recover from stressful situations more quickly, have a more positive outlook on life, and… the best part of all, be more attractive to others. Booya!

And I won’t charge you $1,200 for it. That’s right, this one’s on me.

I’m in Mexico learning Spanish. The very first thing my teacher did with me was go through the vowels: a e i o u. “Ah – Eh – Ee – Oh – Ooh”

I mimicked her, or at least I thought I did.

“No, no. Ah – Eh – Ee take a very wide mouth. Oh – Ooh are narrower.”

Pulling my mouth as wide as I could, I tried again. Ack! It felt like major distortion of my face. A grotesque parody of speech.

“Yes, Yes! That’s it!” She exclaimed.

Are you kidding? It’s like talking with a perma-smile.

Do you know where we’re headed with this? If you guessed the land of smiles, you’re right.

There’s a guest article called There’s Magic in Your Smile, June 25, 2012 in Psychology Today by Sarah Stevenson links to studies and is a great read. She reminds us that studies have been showing for years that a good ole, big smile releases the “feel-good” neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphines and serotonin.

In addition to lifting your mood, big smiles helps you recover from stressful situations more quickly as they lower your blood pressure and heart rate.

And that’s just the person doing the smiling. Studies have also shown that people find are more attracted to people who smile and make eye contact.

Oh, it’s not just in the realm of research, either. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about one field that has jumped on the smile train. (I’m hesitant to mention the article as it’s practically advocating botox to stop frowning. Ugh.)

An Atlanta-based consultant charges $1,200 for a 3.5 hour body-language training package in which she teaches clients how to smile most effectively. Her clients—politicians, execs, job interviewees, people in the serious dating pool—want to learn to project a positive image.

Let me save you a bunch o’bucks and a trip to Atlanta. Speak with a smile.

Since I’ve been opening my mouth wide to speak, I’ve felt lighter and more courageous in practicing my Spanish. I make eye contact and smile at people in the street and 95% of the time, I’m rewarded with a a lovely smile in return. I love it!

While I felt completely weird pulling my mouth open like that in my first Spanish lesson, now it feels normal. In fact, I think I might be getting addicted to the feel-good hormones because I’m smiling right now as I type. There are worse things to be addicted to…

Give it a try, eh? Open your mouth wide and repeat after me (yes, out loud): “Ah, Eh, Ee” and then “Africa is engaging and immense with zebras and giraffes.” (Phrase chosen solely for the vowels it contains.)

Then, the next time you talk with someone, pull your mouth wide. It might feel funny to you at first, but watch how people respond. You just might be surprised!

I’d love to hear how it goes in the comments below.

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Photo credits: smile by manduhsaurus

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