The eyes might be the window to the soul, but a smile says more than words ever could. But, how do you smile when wearing a mask? How do we connect with others when half our face is covered over?
These are questions psychologists have been debating, finding more and more people, especially children, feel distressed without the ability to see a person’s smile. Part of the increase in anxiety and depression comes from a lack of smiling.
A smile just doesn’t come from your mouth, it can be a whole-body experience. So, let’s take a look at a couple of ways to smile when using a mask, so other people know you are happy and want them to be happy, too.
Smiling with your eyes. Tyra Banks introduced this term to help people (mostly her models) truly convey their smiles using more than just their lips. When people are truly happy, their whole face and body lights up.
Body language experts point out a couple of crucial details that help describe this technique. In genuine happiness, a person’s eyes will squint a little bit and the muscles surrounding the eyes will contract. This can give you little wrinkles on the outer corners of your eyes and pull your cheeks upward a little.
When you’re smiling under your mask, let it fill up your whole face and smize!
Use Your Hands More
When people are excited and happy, they tend to use more physical gestures, including moving their hands more often. In fact, many people associate those who do not use their hands as hiding something or being too restrained.
Start letting yourself gently use more hand gestures. As people see you moving around more without being threatening, they can start to trust you and feel your excitement and happiness.
Speak Your Emotions
Tell somebody plainly that you’re happy and smiling. It’s unfortunate that in our culture, emotions don’t get spoken often. It’s unusual to hear somebody come out and say they are happy, upset, or frightened.
However, research shows that when a person speaks their emotion, the intensity of negative emotions reduces and the pervasiveness of positive emotions is enhanced. That means when you’re hurting or frightened, naming that emotion lessens its grasp on you, but telling somebody you’re happy often increases it. It is true, happiness shared is happiness doubled.
Exaggerate A Real Smile
When you give a smile, let it light up your whole body. Let people see a small smile as a huge smile and take your huge smile to a full-body embracing happiness.
Being happy creates certain changes in the body observable to other people. They see your eyes crinkling as we described above, and they also see other subtle changes. Happy people tend to lean into those that are making them happy. They relax their shoulders and hold out their hands more often.
This makes other people feel better, but it does good things for you, as well. Smiling tends to reduce a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety. The act of smiling releases certain hormones, like dopamine, in the brain that increase happiness. So, even if it’s for your own health, smile a little bit more and let it embrace your whole body.
Ask More Questions
It true that people don’t care how much you know or who you are until they know how much you care about them. Asking questions and listening to the answer is one of the best ways to show a person you’re interested in them. And being interested in a person is one of the best ways to show you care.
When we’re speaking to somebody wearing a mask, it can be hard to understand them fully at times. By asking questions, you can grasp what somebody means if you don’t understand the words. Even if you know, asking clarifying questions shows that you’re interested in what the other person is speaking about.
It’s that interest that shows you care and that can be as important as smiling.
The great thing, you can combine these all for a really powerful way to make yourself and others happy.
Here’s the short tips on how to smile while wearing a mask:
- Talk with your hands to emphasize points
- Speak what emotions you’re feeling
- Let the smile fill your whole body
- Ask more questions to clarify