Smile into Action | SoloWords into Action

Do you need a pencil? 12 Tips to Smile More

Do you need a pencil? That is my favorite tip to smile more. Let me explain. Do you have teenagers or have children that already went through the challenging teenage years? I do, and let me tell you that during this time the word “smile” is the one I mention the most at home. I am sure the same thing happened to my mom when I was a teenager. Why? Because when we are teenagers, we all suffer a transformation from little and smiley angels to grumpy and moody people.

For this reason, I am always asking my kids if they need a pencil. Yes, you read it right, I offer them a pencil to remind them to smile.

What does a pencil have to do with smiling? Before going there, let’s review a few interesting things about the meaning and importance to put the word “SMILE” into action.

What does smile mean?

The definition of the word smile by is: 

“The thing you do with your face when you are happy – or want others to think you are. Your expression softens, and your mouth turns up at the corners.”

Another definition from urban dictionary that I found hilarious is: 

“A facial expression implemented by girls to kill and enslave entire populations. i.e.
Her smile killed me.”

For me, that one is the best definition, but I will make it more inclusive and broad.

A facial and powerful expression implemented by anyone to change the world.

What does “smiling” do to us?

Smiling is a superpower we all have, and most of the time we don’t use it or take seriously. Smiling is like the apple cider vinegar that we can use for anything and everything. Some people say, even doctors, smiling is the cheapest therapy we can have. Why? Here are 10 good reasons:

  1. Makes us look younger. When we smile, our face muscles lift
  2. Makes us look beautiful or handsome. A smile is not only a change in our lips. It also extends to our eyes making us look more attractive
  3. Reduces our stress level. Smiling makes us relax and change negative thoughts
  4. Changes our mood. Smiling release endorphins and serotonin which calm our nervous system and make us feel good
  5. Boosts our immune system because It reduces our stress level
  6. Makes us look friendly and approachable. A smile is an easy ice breaker to implement when meeting new people
  7. Makes us seem successful and confident
  8. Makes people want to be around us. No one likes to be around crabby people. Do you?
  9. Helps us see life in a more positive way
  10. It makes easier getting what we want. Remember the saying: “No one can resist a good smile.”

What can our smile do to others?

The best and most important thing our smile can do to others is:

making them smile too.

Smiling is contagious. So when we make people smile in response to our smile, we are giving them the above 10 benefits of smiling. Isn’t that amazing? That is one more reason why we need to smile more.

12 Tips to Smile More

  1. Every morning when the alarm goes off, smile. First, because we are still alive and made it through the night. Second, to stretch our face muscles and get, consciously, in the mood to smile throughout the day.
  2. Smile every time at ourselves when we are in front of a mirror and let’s focus on our smile. Look at how beautiful or handsome we are when we smile. If you don’t believe me, then put a straight face and see the difference. Always remind ourselves: “smiling makes me beautiful/handsome.”
  3. Don’t think that you need to be happy to smile. It is the other way around. We need to smile to be happy.
  4. Do things we enjoy. Read my post about “Let’s Go and Enjoy: We are Alive.” Spontaneous smiles come when we are doing things we like and enjoy. 
  5. Smile at everybody. Yes, when I say everybody, I mean everybody. Practice smiling at work, gym, trail, supermarket, people we like and those we don’t like. Smiling is free, it doesn’t require any effort, so why don’t give it to anyone who crosses our path. We have to remember not only about the benefits we get when we smile but also the benefits we will give to others. Let’s consider smiling our cause to help others.
  6. Be grateful. Think about all the things we have or have accomplished. All of those are great reasons to smile.
  7. Let’s remind ourselves of happy moments, even when we are having a hard time. We need to train our mind to focus on the positive and happy moments.
  8. Always smile when saying Hello, Please, Thank You and Good Bye. To practice smiling, we can also program ourselves to smile with a specific action. i.e., every time we stop in a traffic light. 
  9. Get together or frequently call that special friend that always makes us smile.
  10. Listen to music of any kind, but mostly listen to those songs that bring us good memories.
  11. Fake it until we make it. Smiling can be involuntary as a reflex from something we like or a feeling we have, or voluntary, by deciding to smile. Sometimes smiling is so hard for us that we need to push ourselves to do it, even if we have to fake it. The good news is that even if we fake it, we can still get the benefits of smiling.
  12. When nothing else works, use a pencil. Yes, this is what I use with my teenage kids

What about the pencil?

When nothing else works use a pencil

I read once that the best exercise to smile is to put a pencil in our mouth and hold it for a couple of minutes. Doing this forces the muscles of our face into the smile position and makes our brain think we are smiling. Then, the magic starts.

I have been using the pencil exercise with my kids and my husband for a few years. If they are in a bad mood, I just give them a pencil or ask them: “Do you need a pencil?”. Most of the time, they roll their eyes and don’t put the pencil in their mouth. However, when I ask them if they need a pencil, I am making them aware of their attitude, and because of that, they become capable of changing it (You can read my post about “Awareness is the Key to Everything”). My kids do the same to me when I am in a bad mood, of course, but the best part is when I see them offering a pencil to their friends.


Let’s be realistic. It is not only our teenagers who need a pencil. We all do. Today’s life is so busy and stressful, that it makes us forget the importance to smile. We can see every day and everywhere, people with long faces. The good news is that we all have the superpower to feel better or make others feel better by just putting the word smile into action, so let’s do it.

I genuinely believe that smiling can make a huge difference in the people around us and us. We all like to be surrounded by smiley people because they give us a boost of happiness and energy. Well, if we like smiley people, we need to be smiley too. Let’s use our self-awareness to know when we need a pencil and use it. I have used it, and it works!

I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes about smiling:

Use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile. In case of emergency, use the pencil

Did you know there is an Online University for Laugh? They have great articles about smiling and laughing that are worth reading.

Here are my two questions for you:

  • Are you a smiley person or do you often need a pencil?
  • Who is that person that always makes you smile? Call him/her to give thanks and smile again

I would love to read your answers, and if you know someone who needs a pencil, please share this post with them.  I am already smiling 🙂

Here is a link of a video from BBC that explain a little more the pencil tecnique to smile. Watch it and start smiling!

Make Yourself Happier Using Only A Pencil – Pleasure and Pain with Michael Mosley – BBC One

I will be sharing my smiles on Instagram and Facebook. I hope they are contagious!

Easy to download, high resolution image to print at home or favorite local or online print shop in any of the following sizes: 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, 16 x 20 and 18 x 24. To download, click the green bottom bellow.


  • Wendy Sumrell

    Eliana – mission accomplished. I am smiling. I love your blog and I am so proud of you for sharing your heart. I learned something new (I did not know about the pencil trick) and I cannot wait to try this with my teenagers. I plan to smile at everyone I see today – they may think I am crazy or a little strange, but I will be using my superpower. Keep writing my friend.

    • Eliana Cordoba

      Thank you, Wendy! Make “smiling” a game. When you smile at everyone, count how many people smile back to you. Usually, a lot of people respond with a smile, but sometimes you will need to have some pencils ready to give away 🙂

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