Everyone has one & it’s free.

A smile says, “Welcome.” A smile says, “You matter.” Moods can shift dramatically with this simple gesture — both for the smiler AND the smilee. I know this for sure because when I see someone smiling at me, my face automatically smiles back. And I feel more relaxed. This knee-jerk reaction seldom fails on ordinary days.

If you’ve ever had to face a room full of strangers, you know about its magical power. A friendly smile pointed your way calms your nerves and takes the edge off of that awkward, self-conscious feeling of being alone.

“Our smile will bring happiness to us and to those around us. Even if we spend a lot of money on gifts for everyone in our family, nothing we buy could give them as much happiness as the gift of our awareness, our smile. And this precious gift costs nothing.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen master and spiritual leader.

Hanh recommends that we begin every day with a smile because it helps start us off in a positive frame of mind. To get in the habit, he suggests hanging a reminder — a branch or leaf, a painting or inspiring words — in your window or beside your bed so you notice as soon as you wake up.

A smile: “How you doin’?” without words.