“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
Have you ever been walking down the street and made eye contact with a stranger, only to have them make an awkward face or quickly look away? It is only natural to start wondering what that person’s deal is. “Either this guy is a jerk or there is something on my face?” In all likelihood, it was neither of those things, and you are left feeling annoyed or awkward for no reason.
What if instead, when you made eye contact with that person, you initiated a genuine smile before they could react? Two amazing things will happen:
1) They will smile back. When you smile at a person, that person will automatically smile back because smiling is contagious. Neuroscientists have recently discovered a new class of cells called mirror neurons. These neurons fire both when you act and when you observe the same action performed by another. Therefore, when you smile, the other person won’t be able to stop themselves from smiling back.