Hello, hello, hello *waves*
Someone pointed out to me several years back that I tended to walk about with my head down. I never really noticed this before, but actually it made sense. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself (something I’m still working on), and I think that’s likely the reason I (unconsciously) kept my head down when I walked. I may as well have been holding a sign saying “Don’t talk to me!”. Since then I make a conscious effort to walk with my head held high and even occasionally share an awkward smile with a passer-by. Occasionally I catch myself with my head down and I pull it back up to watch the world pass by as I go on my way.
Awhile back I heard a conversation on the radio (which I was only half listening to at the time), about verbally acknowledging people when you see them as well as smiling. I stopped what I was doing and listened in. The jist of it was that we never know what is going on for the people we see.
They may be having a terrible day for one reason or another and the power of a simple smile and acknowledgment might mean more than we would ever know to that individual. In fact, Mother Teresa even said the same thing, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do”.
Something about the power the simplicity of smiling and saying “hello” to someone could have stuck a chord with me and I decided to give it a go. It may sound odd, but the concept of actually speaking to someone as well as smiling when I passed them felt a little awkward!
The next day I headed to work. Walking into the building and navigating the rabbit warren of corridors I smiled and said “Morning” to each person I saw. I was pleasantly surprised at the response I got. Most people smiled and replied, others seemed a little shocked, but once they got over that they either smiled, replied or did both. Who knew?! Clearly, it would be tricky to acknowledge everyone you encounter, particularly if your commute involves a tube journey or navigating a busy City street, but I like the concept.
According to research, smiling can not only lift your own mood if you’re feeling a bit grumpy, but they are also contagious so you can help someone else out too. Don’t believe me or the studies; have you ever tried to frown at someone who is smiling or laughing – how long do you last?! Throughout my life I’ve always just wanted to make a difference. Some people may have thousands of pounds available that they are able to donate to charity. I’m afraid I don’t, but I have a smile and that doesn’t cost a thing 🙂
Final thought: How many people have you smiled at and/or acknowledged recently? Give it a try and see how it feels.