The Baker Orange

Students need to unplug, take time to smile

Story by Sarah Baker, Editor

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I have noticed that in comparison to older generations, we are less social and more social media. We are always plugged in to various devices rather than taking time to experience the world around us.

I have heard complaints that members of our generation often are not thoughtful or respectful toward others and that we should be more courteous and social. We are more invested in our gadgets than in the people around us — like when we are sitting in the same room texting each other or when others pass us on the sidewalk and we do not acknowledge them.

Our generation is often viewed as unaware and unobservant of our surroundings, because we seem to live in the artificial world of our technology instead of in the moment.

We can change this impression. For example, when you walk through a door being held open by someone, you should say thank you and smile. When someone passes you on the sidewalk or lets you cross the road in front of their car, you should nod and smile.

When it comes to opening doors, the Baker men have that down. But we can do a better job of acknowledging or smiling at random people.

When you pass someone on the sidewalk, giving them a simple smile, nod or “hey” could make their day. It feels great when you smile at someone who smiles back.

Many studies show that smiling is contagious. If you are surrounded by smiling people, you find yourself smiling. Studies have also repeatedly shown that smiling more often makes you a generally happier person.

Even if you are in a bad mood, if you force yourself to smile, then you will eventually believe that you are happy. You may even convince yourself you are happy just by smiling.

We are naturally drawn to smiling people, which means you are more attractive if you smile. People who smile seem to have more confidence and can seem more trustworthy, in addition to having a more positive outlook.

Most doctors believe smiling is a factor in living longer, saying smiling can lower your blood pressure, lower stress levels and boost your immune system. Smiling releases endorphins and can even make you look younger.

Come on, Baker. Challenge yourselves to put down the phone and give someone a real smile.

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