Proof That a Simple Smile Can Make You Happy

November 12, 2015

 

A smiling face is a beautiful face. A smiling heart is a happy heart – Dr. T.P Chia.

I am continuing a series of articles today from the top life-changing attitude attributes from Jeffery Gitomer’s book “The Golden Book of Yes”. These are habits that, when developed, will keep your attitude at its most positive, and enable you to be the confident, capable you are intended to be.

Todays attitude attribute is one I firmly believe in. It is very simple, yet many of us ignore its amazing benefits. The command (if you can even call it that) is to smile. It is amazing how much power a smile has. Its benefits to you and to those around you are very much underestimated, especially in today’s fast-paced, stressful world.

I find the significance and power of a smile so important, I made it the first chapter of my book, “30 Days to a More Powerful Life“. I share this chapter with you here….

How much power does a smile have? Think about holding or watching a baby. What happens when that baby innocently smiles at us? Well, I cannot think of one human being that would not smile back at the baby, regardless of the mood they are in. If the smile of an infant only several months old can have such a positive effect, can it be the same with older kids and adults? I am a firm believer in the power of a smile. In his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, Dale Carnegie notes that a smile is a simple way to make a great first impression.[i] Based on what I have read and my own observations, here are several powerful effects of a smile:

  • It makes us feel good about ourselves. I’m not an expert on psychology, but it is said that, not only do our actions follow our emotions, but it can work the other way around. When we smile, the positive emotions follow. By smiling and remaining positive, we have a better outlook on all aspects of our life.
  • We receive positive reactions from others. Think of the baby and how we smile back. In most cases, if we smile at someone, they will smile back.
  • It is a sign of confidence. Think of those who constantly have smiles on their faces. Doesn’t it seem like they have everything totally under control?
  • It can solve a negative situation. I’ve dealt with angry customers and upset students. When I approach them with a smile and gentleness, they are much more willing to listen and cooperate.

Smiling is also known to have several health benefits. I read an article online by Dr. Mark Stibich. He lists 10 ways that smiling affects our health, stress level, and attractiveness:[ii]

  1. Smiling makes us more attractive.
  2. Smiling improves our mood.
  3. Smiling is contagious.
  4. Smiling relieves stress.
  5. Smiling boosts your immune system.
  6. Smiling lowers blood pressure.
  7. Smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers, and Serotin. It’s a natural drug!
  8. Smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger.
  9. Smiling makes you seem successful.
  10. Smiling helps you stay positive.

I love the test Dr. Stibich includes at the end of his article. He challenges us to smile, and then try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It is very difficult to do because the smile sends the message that all is well in our worlds, and it conflicts and actually repels any negative thoughts.

As you can see, there are plenty of other benefits to a smile. It is such a simple concept, yet how many of us fail to do this? I do my best to keep a smile on my face, but sometimes still end up doing so much less than I should. Smiling is contagious. Starting from just one person, it can spread joy very quickly, and have powerful impacts on everyone in the office, classroom, household, or whatever environment. Why not help ourselves and those around us stay positive and enjoy life simply by smiling often? It is a challenge that I am willing to take, and I suggest it to you too.

Action Plan: As mentioned, smiling is a very easy thing to do. Even when things are not going as well as we would like, we can make a conscious effort to smile, and it can make a difference in our circumstances. Whenever you think of it throughout the day, allow yourself to smile. The more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Eventually, you begin to experience the many benefits mentioned above. The result is a happier and more beneficial life for you and for those around you.

[i] Carnegie, D. (1936) How to Win Friends and Influence People, 95. New York. Simon and Schuster.

[ii] Stibich, M. Ph.D, Top 10 Reasons to Smile. About.com. Updated February 4, 2010.

I certainly hope this information convinces you to smile more today. As you will see, the more you do so, the better you will feel and will help others do the same. Enjoy the blessings ūüôā

Advertisements

Your Golden Ticket to Happiness

November 13, 2014

What is the golden ticket to happiness? Almost everyone I know wants to find it. As I pondered the answer to this question it came to me very quickly,¬†almost automatically. I didn’t have to take the time to look it up.

I discovered that anyone can have this golden ticket to happiness, and can have it right away. The key is to appreciate what you have. I apologize if you are looking for some earth-shattering, life changing formula. This is it. Think about it. People are often at the most unhappy when they don’t pay attention to the beauty around them or the great things they already have. They are focused on what’s missing, things they don’t have, or the negative that is going on around them.

I am not na√Įve to the fact that we¬†all have negative situations around us. I know there are things in life that we want but don’t yet have. However, I have experienced the peace and joy of focusing on the great things that I do have. I realize that I have a choice of where I place my focus. When I focus my thoughts on the wonderful blessings God has provided in my life and even the great things He will do, it brings an amazing joy, and¬†steady¬†stream of happy thoughts that automatically adds to the level of happiness I experience.

This is not rocket science. When you thank God for the little things, you are given bigger reasons to be thankful. Your level of happiness will not disappear unless you allow it to by focusing your thoughts on the wrong things. Once again, I understand negative things happen. However, by maintaining positive, thankful thoughts for the good that you have, the negativity will quickly disappear if you simply deal with the situation and stay positive.

I remind you again that if you want to be singing and celebrating your golden ticket like the kids in Willy Wonka, you simply need to focus on all the good you have in your life now and be thankful for it. Watch how quickly your attitude changes, and before you know it the chocolate factory will be all yours ūüôā


The Most Simple Way to Create Positive Emotions

January 13, 2014

I will start with a story that I am not proud of, but led me to the theme of this post. Here in Buffalo last week we received some of the most extreme winter weather I have ever experienced. In addition to the foot and a half of snow, we had 4o mile an hour winds and wind chill temperatures of -30. Two days later, the roads were still difficult to travel, making even this simple 10 minute ride to pick up pizza a royal pain.

I am not patient with delays, and this trip had many with traffic, slow drivers, getting stuck at lights, etc. Between the still snowy roads¬†and these delays, my patience ran out. All kinds of negative thoughts were running through my head, and all kinds of negative words were coming from my mouth. I was prompted and reminded by the Spirit about the positive thinking words I always preach, but it wasn’t working. In fact nothing was working to get me out of this funk.

Finally, after the Holy Spirit had tried all of its reminders and tricks, it reminded me of a message I had heard several years ago. It was about an author who discussed the effect and power of a smile. He had the readers try an experiment where they tried to think of something negative as they smile. I tried it then and several times since. It is extremely difficult. I decided to try that here during this negative tirade. Sure enough, I felt the cloud lift immediately. At first I was still complaining, though still with a smile on my face. Kind of like a toddler who laughs and cries at the same time. I could probably qualify because my actions were very toddler like : ) Anyway, it was about another minute before I was smiling all the way home, and the negative feelings quickly disappeared.

I will admit that there are times where we don’t want to smile, and obviously times like the death of a loved one¬†where sad feelings will last for a while. That is certainly to be expected. However, there are many other times like my situation the other day. Sure I had reason to be frustrated. However, there was no reason to let it take me over as it did. I challenge you to try this little experiment the next time you¬†find yourself¬†allowing negative feelings and thoughts to take over your being. Keep a deliberate smile on your face, and see how long it takes before the feelings disappear. It may seem fake and foolish. However, that may even cause you to laugh a bit, and as you do the negative clouds will fade away much sooner.

I have said it many times,¬†and it will¬†always remain true. A smile is powerful. Even in a case like this where you may be all alone, holding a smile can change your attitude from negative to positive very quickly. If you don’t believe me then do so and find out for yourself. If you have a crazy story like¬†mine, I certainly¬†invite you to share. Enjoy the blessings ūüôā


A Cheerful Way To Heal Yourself

June 27, 2013

I have always believed that God is the ultimate healer. I still do. However, the longer I live, the more I realize that we hold a great deal of power with our health, and the ability to maintain and heal ourselves.

I was reminded of this fact as I read through Proverbs yesterday. My study took me to verse 17:22 which simply says..”a cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. The New English translation specifically says that a cheerful heart brings healing. If you want to take it one step further, The Message version says “a cheerful disposition is good for your health, while gloom and doom leave you bone-tired”.

Do you believe that your mood and outlook on your life has an impact on your health? These are words from God Himself, which makes it very obvious to me that the way I think and feel emotionally directly impacts how I feel physically. The above verse is directly from God, but I know it is true from my own experience. When I allow myself to get stressed and too busy, I feel very run down and never seem to have the energy I need. It’s these times where I am most likely to get sick. When my thoughts and emotions are positive, it doesn’t matter how much there is to get done. I can complete any task with plenty of energy to spare.

I recommend you focus on this verse today. Are you not feeling your best? Are you tired, run down, or feeling the aches and pains of life? Whether any of those are true, or if you are feeling good and simply looking to maintain your strength, do all you can to maintain a cheerful disposition. Besides the health and energy benefits, all other aspects of your life will be affected as well. You will get along better with others. You will put yourself in a position to receive good fortune. You will feel closer to God, and your faith will increase. I can go on and on.

If you didn’t already, do you now believe you have the power to heal yourself and maintain excellent health and energy? The simple exercise of putting a smile on your face and maintaining a positive, cheerful frame of mind is the best medicine there is. It’s free and you can’t overdose on it. Enjoy the blessings : )

 


A Funny Way To Produce A Natural High

June 20, 2013

It would be great if we could put ourselves in a constant state of high emotion, wouldn’t it? The good news is that we all have the ability to accomplish this.

There are many different things we can do to maintain a high, positive emotional state. One of the greatest in my opinion is laughter. Don’t you always feel better and more positive after a great laugh? It is even medically proven that certain chemicals are released in the body as a result of laughter, and even just smiling.¬†Knowing that we have control of the state of our emotions, and laughter makes us feel better and happier…what are you waiting for?

I understand things get busy in life, and there are times where things get so difficult that you are in absolutely no mood to smile and laugh. I have reflected at times and realized I haven’t laughed much or at all in a period of several days or more. However, I have learned that there is always room for laughter, and that we simply cannot let days go by without it, regardless of the circumstances. In fact, consistent laughter is a great way to change many of the circumstances in life.

As I thought about this, I came up with 3 main ways to increase the amount of laughter in my life:

  1. Remember old funny times – I often look back at some of the funniest moments in life. It brings back pleasant memories, and it’s a great way to get to a positive state of mind.
  2. Find and watch funny things now – There are scenes from some of my favorite TV shows (Honeymooners, Happy Days, All in the Family, Seinfeld, The Office) that I can watch over and over and still convulse in laughter. In addition, with the availability of YouTube and other video sources, there are countless clips you can watch from movies, comedians, or wherever. I recommend you seek the ones you like, then watch and laugh.
  3. Use your imagination – Some think I’m a bit crazy for this one, but as a kid I would often imagine funny situations that never actually happened, but had me laughing breathlessly. Think you can’t do this as an adult? Once I was overly tense for a job interview. I needed something to break the tension. On my way there, I thought of a very funny “what if” situation and laughed heartily all the way there (if that was you in the car next to me, I swear I am really not crazy). As a result, I was very loose and positive for the interview and aced it. I believe it’s one of the reasons I got that first teaching job.

It is totally true that laughter is the best medicine. The good thing is that it’s free, limitless, and you can’t overdose on it. I strongly recommend you use it. Your attitude will be positive, and your emotions will run high. When your mind is positive and your emotions are at their highest, there is no stopping you. Miracles will occur, and you will be laughing all the way to the bank. Enjoy the blessings : )


Why Are People So Happy?

April 26, 2013

The above title is indeed an interesting question. The answer is an obvious one, right? People are happy because they are lucky and they’ve been given many great things in life. It’s all chance, right?

If you know me well enough, you know my answer to that response would be…WRONG!!! Happiness is not because of luck or good breaks. The happiest people are that way simply because they choose to be. There’s no luck or chance involved. They simply see the best in all situations, and make the choice that they are going to be happy no matter what.

You may be saying…”come on, that’s it? There must be more! Ok, I agree. There is more. I read a very interesting article today that actually lists common characteristics of happy people. These include being thankful and healthy, being able to stay mentally active, laugh, and forgive, and spending time with other happy people. It all certainly makes sense to me.

The bottom line is that happiness is not a random thing that only happens when things go well. It is a choice, a habit, and a way of being. I challenge you to make the conscious decision to be happy. I understand that sometimes circumstances and people make it difficult. However, you can still choose to see the bright side of things, and keep a smile on your face as much as possible. I know from experience that there’s no greater way to live.

I have included a link to the full article mentioned above. I suggest you check out the list and see how you measure up and how many of the common characteristics you possess. Have a wonderful day : )

http://johnderrick.com/self_improvement/healthy-lifestyle/healthly-tips/things-happy-people-have-common/


The 100 Smile Challenge

September 17, 2012

It was one of those Sundays. Instead of relaxing at home with the family and watching football, I was at my part time job handing out free food samples. However, it was a very slow day. The weather was beautiful, the local football team was playing their first home game, and people were just not in the food shopping mood.

My mind drifted as I stood there in the far corner of the store with much less than the normal amount of vistors I would normally see. First I prayed. Then I visualized reaching some of my goals. However, after a while I could no longer focus. I felt like I needed to do something drastic and make positive impacts at the same time. Then the idea came to my mind. I¬†usually do my best to put a smile on someone’s face with a kind word, or simply smiling at them. However, when things get busy at the store or at at the school I teach at, the smile and positive intentions sometimes disappear. I made the intention that today, since it was much slower, I would make this effort with every single person that came my way. My goal by the end of the day was to get 100 people in my presence to smile.

As I thought about it, I realized that the task was not very difficult. It’s a fact that when you smile at someone else, it is very likely they will smile back. I’ve seen it before at this store. Even if they don’t like what I’m promoting, they will still usually respond positively to the hello and smile they receive from me. The only difficulty today would actually be coming in contact with 100 people.

I began the deliberate smiles and positive greetings. I immediately received positive responses. I couldn’t get everyone to smile back, but even those who didn’t at least acknowledged me and said hello. One benefit I didn’t plan on during this time was that, as I was relaying smiles and positivity to others, I was being affected myself! I began to feel more positive and energetic. Besides putting smiles on the faces of others, I was getting the biggest kick out of this, and the smile grew automatically on my own face. The funny thing is that I was promoting a relatively unpopular product (seltzer water). Regardless, my encounters with the customers felt more natural and at ease, even though many had no interest in sampling the product.

As the day went on, I realized I was going to hit this goal. There were enough people passing by in the 4 hours I was on the floor. And I had 4 more people at home to share this positivity with as well! As it turned out, my final count was 112. As I end my day now I thank God for the idea, and the satisfaction of putting smiles on 112 faces today. It’s not the first time I’ve put a smile on someone’s face. However, it is the first time I set such a drastic goal and actually exceeded it. The reminder from this is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. I teach 150 students a day. Why not make the same deliberate effort to put some extra positive into their day? The same can be done with family members, friends, supermarket cashiers, people passing by, etc.

I would understand if you called me crazy for actually taking the time to tally smiles. I would certainly believe you. Those closest to me would say it’s something typical that I would do. However, I challenge you to do the same. Set a number goal and go out of your way to put a smile on as many faces as you can. It’s not difficult. Simply keep the smile on your own face, let God’s love shine through you, and say hello or something nice. You’ll be amazed at the positive impacts you make, and how good you feel also. Yes, the 100 smile challenge is a bit extreme, but sometimes you need to be that way to stand out and make a positive difference. Please share your results of where and when you try this and accomplish it. I would love to hear about it. Enjoy the blessings : )