“A smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks.”
“Hey, I've got nothing to do today but smile.”
Paul Simon – Only Living Boy in New York
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh
I’m serious. Smile. Right now. As you’re reading this, smile. That’s what I did tonight and I think I just discovered something important. Let me start at the beginning.
Tonight was difficult. I had planned to make a nice dinner and then take my two youngest girls out for Hallowe’en. But then things went wrong in the following order:
· Shopping for food took a lot longer than I thought it would.
· My girls wanted to go out with a friend instead of me.
· I burned the bread.
· I overcooked the meat.
· Nobody was home to eat the food I had prepared anyway.
· The girls were gone a lot longer than I wanted them to be, but I couldn’t reach the father of the children they were with.
· When they finally got home, I had an uncomfortable interaction with the parent while trying to help him with something.
· Instead of going trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, they wanted to see a “haunted house” first.
· We had to drive there.
· While going in the haunted house my youngest daughter didn’t grab on to me for comfort and protection, she grabbed on to the father of the other children who were with us.
· They went through the haunted house three times.
· By the time we got home, it was too late to go out.
· After finally getting them to bed, I realized I needed to go to the store for something before I could settle down to write.
So, it was a pretty discouraging night. Then, as I was driving back home and feeling defeated, I decided, for no reason at all, to smile. The moment I did, everything changed. Well, no, only one thing changed – my attitude. I felt completely different. The feelings of discouragement, anger and frustration were gone. And all I did was smile.
I was once in a program called Tools to Life. I highly recommend it. (http://toolstolife.com/) One of the daily assignments given in the program was to smile six times a day. Perhaps I was remembering that tonight. There are therapeutic effects from smiling. According to (http://longevity.about.com/od/lifelongbeauty/tp/smiling.htm) smiling does the following:
1. Smiling Makes Us Attractive.
2. Smiling Changes Our Mood.
3. Smiling Is Contagious.
4. Smiling Relieves Stress.
5. Smiling Boosts Your Immune System.
6. Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure.
7. Smiling Releases Endorphins, Natural Pain Killers and Serotonin.
8. Smiling Lifts the Face and Makes You Look Younger.
I know this much: I went from feeling tense and defeated to relaxed and happy in a matter of seconds. Right now I feel peaceful and excited. The darkness that was surrounding me is gone. My energy and motivation are back. Everything looks interesting again.
I wonder if I rediscovered an important secret. I’ve told people that when someone answers the phone while smiling, that person sounds happy. Perhaps the smile helps because when we give a full smile we have to open our mouths and perhaps we’re allowing oxygen to our blood. I’m not sure how it works, but I’m pretty sure it does.
So here’s the plan: I’m going to smile every chance I get tomorrow. I’m going to smile and see what it does for my day and for my attitude. I’m going to Get Started and Keep Going…and smile.