How Do You Impact People?
Even when you don’t realize it
Never mind all the new evidence about how we leave bits of our biological aura on people as we pass by them. We impact people just with our presence. Most of us aren’t aware of what’s called our “resting face.” That’s the look you have on your face when you think no one is watching. Yet others see your expression and it subtly changes their mood. I’ve seen this type of reflection happen in conversation. I’m an animated storyteller and have noticed times when I’m deep into a funny story that the person listening suddenly copies my expressions.
There was a book in the early 90’s called Emotional Contagion. The research showed humans will synchronize facial expressions with others as a way of connecting. (This is why some older married couples look alike! They’ve been copying each others’ expressions so long their faces stuck that way!) Once you change your facial expression, you’re sending messages to the rest of your body that influence how you feel. Thus the advice, “Fake it till you make it.”
Try it – sit up straight, pull your shoulders down and back. Then grin. Notice how that simple act will cause you to relax and feel slightly better. Now, slump forward, squint your eyes and glare at the screen. Notice again how that has changed your body subtly, and not in a good way.
Take this a step further: Why do some people get better service than others? Why do some people seem to have all the luck? Why did some students in your school do better with one teacher and not with another? Why do some guys/girls get all the attention at a club? Pay Attention. Is their “resting face” friendlier than most? Do they inspire other people to smile more? I’m writing a dating book and I’ve noticed when people can make someone smile and laugh, they have a higher chance of meeting/dancing with/ dating that person.
You Impact People. Your facial expression, your moods, your energy and the look on your “resting face” change how the people around you feel about you and about themselves. We change people just by being in their space (or on TV, or in a movie…) Thus my quote from my favorite 1970’s poet, Laurence Craig Greene. “They come, they go, they never know what they do… but they do change you.” And you change them. We can’t help it. We’re social creatures.
So – if your life just isn’t working right now, try dropping those shoulders and find something to smile about. Take a break and get your focus back. Give those sourpusses in your life a wide berth. Don’t spend too much time with them. (And don’t be one of them!) Better yet, find someone who makes you laugh. It’s good for your blood pressure and it makes this crazy world just a tiny bit better for all of us.
© 2015 Beth Terry • All Rights Reserved