I’ve been focusing on smiling more lately. For a few reasons, actually. One, because it has been scientifically proven that if you are in a bad mood, if you force yourself to smile, it will actually trigger your brain into feeling happy. Two, because several people have complimented me on my smile today and said that I look more attractive with a smile on my face. And three, because if I find more reasons to smile, then it means I am recognizing more reasons to be grateful for things in my life. There are also plenty of other reasons to smile more often. I’ve heard it can boost your immune system, that it’s contagious so you can boost someone else up, it relieves stress, and it’s muscularly (is that word?) easier to smile than frown because it uses only five facial muscles rather than the 53 used when frowning.
Whatever the reason may be, I don’t think smiling is ever negative for our minds, bodies, or spirits. Smiling is always something positive and always sending off a vibe of happiness. I’ve been stuck in another funk (I seem to get those quite often don’t I?) and it’s really disturbing me because I do not like being in these so-called funks. I’m supposed to be this positive, well-being advocate, and look at me – always depressed about something. So what better way to force myself into a better mood than by doing some writing on something positive to inspire others. That’s one thing I’ve recently learned – when we feel sad, it’s most often caused by our focus on our inner selves and our inner emotions. If we can just take ourselves outside of our minds for a moment and focus on other people, maybe we wouldn’t feel so caught up by what our own feelings are telling us. Feelings are fleeting. They come and go. Sadness will come and go. Happiness will even come and go. That’s why it’s important to just stay present. To enjoy whatever it is that you’re feeling, but also to not purposely dig yourself deeper into the hole of despair. I mean why go deeper unnecessarily. Do you really enjoy being sad? Isn’t feeling happy a better feeling? So don’t add to it.
So here’s my quick fix for the blues. Smile. Smile more. Smile often. It’s simple. Like I said before, it only takes five muscles to do. Even if it’s fake at first, do it anyway because eventually your brain will catch on. What if you say – “well I don’t really have anything in my life to even smile about, my life is so miserable.” Let me ask you, are you alive? Are you healthy? Do you have a place to live? Things to eat? Clothes to keep warm? Running water? A car? Friends? Family? Pets? Anything at all that makes you feel happy?
Those are all reasons to smile. Even if it’s as simple as today I woke up. Good job! Be proud of yourself for waking up. We can always find a reason to smile, even if it’s something super tiny. It’s still a reason. Soon after, that reason will catch fire and you’ll find a hundred more reasons to smile. Maybe tomorrow you’ll notice how pretty the flowers in front of your workplace are. Or maybe the cashier at the grocery store will ask you how you are and that will make you smile. Or maybe your favorite movie came on television. If you seek reasons to smile, you will find reasons to smile. So seek after them. Be consciously aware of reasons to smile. Actively search for reasons. And then sooner or later you will begin to notice that you are smiling all on your own without any need for force and that you will be finding reasons more naturally.
I don’t know why I allow myself to get so down when things don’t go my way. Disappointment is so silly sometimes. We have these expectations for what we’d like to happen, knowing very well that they are just expectations and that reality sometimes doesn’t follow those expectations, and then when they really go off course, we get sad. We get upset. We wonder why things didn’t happen the way we wanted them to. And then we turn inward, blaming ourselves. Telling ourselves, “well maybe if I was just better looking I’d be married by now,” or “maybe I didn’t screw up so much in my past, things would be smoother for me right now.” Stop blaming yourself. Stop shaming yourself. Stop feeling guilty. It’s done! It’s over. But it’s not too late to start new. It’s not too late to start smiling today and to start creating something better for yourself. To start working toward new goals or focusing yourself on other projects. There’s always something you can do.
I need to keep reminding myself that things aren’t always about me. God didn’t create us so that we could live self-centered lives focusing only on achieving things that make us happy. He created us to help each other. To bring happiness and love into the lives of others. To uplift other people. To share with other people. Community. Community has never come naturally to me. I hate to admit that, but it’s true and that’s why with this blog, I’m really trying to give back to other people. I’m really trying to help others get into a better place in their own lives by sharing what I’ve learned or am learning along the way in my own journey. I can’t just sit here and focus on my own problems. I can’t just be unhappy waiting for things to go my way. I have to find reasons to smile now. To be grateful for what I have now. It all goes back to being present in the moment, doesn’t it? (Do I need to re-read what I wrote last week – YES!)
So I encourage you all. Smile more often, ok? Find something to smile about. Anything. It’s just one step at a time, one day at a time on this journey of life. What matters is that we’re improving. That we are taking tiny steps towards healing and well-being. It takes time. Nothing ever really comes easy, but if you put in the work, you will eventually see results. So keep going, friends. Keep smiling. Because I’m sure you look twenty times better when you’re smiling too!
The Self Love Daily Challenge: Smile more often. Find reasons to smile throughout your days.