I have a trick for you that will instantly make you look younger. It will make your skin look more radiant, visually raise your cheekbones, and brighten your eyes.

Are you ready?

The trick is to SMILE.

(Oh, no! Don’t hit that x button in the corner just yet!)

Are you still there? Alright. Please just hear me out.

The above-mentioned benefits of smiling are all true. In fact, there’s a reason that the “over-thirty-five” models who you see in your haircare ads and on your tubes of toothpaste are all smiling. It’s not because they’re happy with the product–not completely, at least. It’s because it makes them look vibrant, and like they are someone who you, the consumer, “should want to be.” The thought process is that, if you want to be like them (and you “should,” by manufacturers’ standards), you should use this product that they “use.” They’re selling fantasies, including the fantasy that they look ten years younger than they actually are. It’s not the product. It’s not even Photoshop (for the most part). By and large, it’s that smile. Smiles get people every time.

Yes, smiling does make you look great, no matter your skin problems, age, bad hair day, or horrible makeup application. If you are happy, even the harshest beauty critic will be more forgiving.

Smiling, however, has so many more important attributes than raising your cheekbones. You should always smile, even when you aren’t thinking about it, and especially during those moments when you want to smile the least.

In case you haven’t caught on yet, today’s post is about inner beauty. 

Think about it: How many times have you been upset by someone, retaliated toward that person in a negative way, and later realized, “Wow, I just made myself look like a horrible person”? Too many times to count, right? In fact, is there even just one time where you lost your head and were proud of it?

There are many moments that I can look back upon and be glad that I smiled, even though it was the last thing on Earth that I wanted to do. I cannot remember a single time where I actually let out my temper and ended up feeling proud of myself, or better at all.

Smile, even when you don’t feel like it. A “please” and “thank you” will never go amiss, either.

Of course, this doesn’t mean to let people walk all over you–not at all! It simply means that, the next time someone is so rude to you that you think you can’t take it, maybe you should take a step back and a deep breath, count to ten, and only then face the situation. Even if, in that moment, you are unable to smile, the composure gained in those few precious seconds will help you to behave with a certain amount of decorum. It doesn’t matter that the person who angered you probably doesn’t deserve your common decency. This is one of those moments where you have only two options. You can either present yourself as a well-adjusted, kind, and inwardly-beautiful person, or you can end up acting like an angry baboon on steroids, which I assume is not so pretty.

People respect you more when you are inwardly-beautiful, and the fastest and easiest way to present your inner beauty to the world is to smile. There are other benefits of smiling at people, both selfless and selfish, if you can call giving a smile selfish. One of the more selfish benefits I’ve found is that, when I smile at the driver of an oncoming bus, the driver usually stops RIGHT in front of me, so I can get on first, and avoid the pushing and shoving of everyone else. This is how I am regularly able to get onto a bus (and in a seat!), unscathed, at 4:30 on a Tuesday afternoon at the Azrieli mall. I smile, and my smile says “Hey there; I hope you’re having a great day. Please stop here?” The driver smiles back. His smile says “You’re welcome.” I say out loud, “Thanks; have a great day,” and we do both have a great day. Remember, if anyone needs a smile from a random stranger, it’s a Tel Avivian bus driver… and for the record, I learned this trick by accident. 

Yes, sharing a smile reaps benefits of all sorts for you and for others, and it costs nothing. Even if you can’t manage to smile at someone else, or about your situation, smile to yourself. Remind yourself, “You are beautiful, inside and out. Everything will be okay.” You will feel better. Those around you will, too. 

I know that smiling is not always practical, but most people in this world don’t do it nearly enough. Go ahead and try on a smile, even if you wear that smile as a sort of armor on a bad day. If all else fails, and your day is just too bad to handle, just remember this silly little phrase: “Smile; it makes your enemies wonder what you’re up to.”

Have a great Sunday.