Six-months have come and gone.
Everyone is learning. Buying groceries on-line, hosting meetings, navigating the one-way systems of workplaces, schools, shopping centres and deciphering the ever-changing rules imposed upon us.
Together we face further adaptation and we need to find a new stride.
As is often the case, it’s the little things that can make a big difference…
Daily we wander around in a sea of masks, relying on our facial expressions, particularly from the eyes, to communicate. The lack of smiling makes it difficult to judge how people are feeling.
The eyes express heaps of crucial information.
William Shakespeare once said,
“The eyes are the window to your soul.”
Eyes allow us to understand a person’s emotions. They say so much more than our words do.
Small changes in the eyes can signify a persons’ true feelings about you and knowing what a genuine smile looks and feels like will make navigating a world of face masks a whole lot easier.
Give these tips a try…
See how others view you
Focus and feel what your face is like when you’re happy and smiling. Your eyes will change shape when you smile, your face will feel different. When you’re naturally happy, your eyes become bigger and brighter, but look smaller when you’re sad or worried.
Make the challenge of communicating in a pandemic a more authentic experience. Video yourself, or get someone else to do it, and see what your face does when you’re feeling different emotions.
Fake it until you make it
Practicing our smile may seem as silly as suggesting we practice walking or breathing. It’s a natural response we don’t really think about.
Learn the Duchenne smile. A Duchenne smile reaches your eyes, making the corners wrinkle up. Smiling in this way is sincere and the most authentic expression of happiness.
Grab a mirror, give it a try. It may feel strange but by squinting slightly to create small pillows beneath your eyes the expression on your face becomes more genuine. If you find yourself wrinkling up the corners of your eyes (making crow’s feet) you’ve smashed it!
The sassy Tyra Banks explain how to smile with your eyes, or smize…
Knowing me, knowing you
Having the ability to smile with our eyes effectively can lift our mood, keep you calm, and encourage connections with others.
When you are looking at a face in a mask the persons true feelings are often given away from the bridge of the nose upwards. Eyebrows can communicate the extremes of aggression or fear; scowl lines, squinted or slanted eyes when you don’t agree with someone becomes ever more evident.
Let your eyebrows do the talking…
It doesn’t have to be facemasks that stop us missing cues.
Our world is filled with virtual meetings, a greater reliance on technology than ever before meaning we can often miss out on social cues. Sometimes small facial gestures or nuances can be lost in translation.
Smiling and more exuberant expressions like nodding agreement have become more important than ever, showing what others are saying. Making eye contact and keeping engaged can be awkward online yet its important to ensure we don’t miss those small observations that provide warmer feeling.
Mask or no mask. One smile is all it takes to help someone have a better day.
Go on… SMILE!