“ Smile , it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart.”
Anthony J. D’Angelo
Back from Florida ahead of Hurricane Wilma, I asked my teenage son what he thought I should write about this time and he said ‘doughnuts’. I explained that although I found the topic an intriguing one (my mind immediately leaping to how I could link this into an interesting piece), it really needed to be more relevant to what I do, not what he would like to be doing! So his next suggestion was ‘Smiling’.
I nearly dismissed this until I remembered that while I had been working on the fourth module of my e-course today the topic of smiling had come up. It was in the context of self-confidence and how to develop it, in this case by meeting people with a smile and a friendly manner so as to engage and interest them. By asking people about themselves and really listening to their answers with a smile, not only will they feel comfortable and pleased to be around you, but your confidence will grow with each encounter. You will be remembered as much for your smile as who you are and what you do. As long as the smile is genuine and you use eye-contact you will come across as friendly and approachable – and confident. Smiling is such a powerful tool.
I couldn’t leave it there, so did a search on Google and came up with the following:
More facts about smiling
• A smile is a universal expression of happiness and recognized as such by all cultures
• A smile is the most frequently used facial expression It takes as few as five pairs of facial muscles and as many as all 53 to smile
• Regardless of the precise number of muscles used, smiling causes far fewer muscles to contract and expand than frowning
• Smiling releases endorphins and makes us feel better
• Even ‘faking’ a smile can lead to feeling happier
• People are born with the ability to smile (They don’t copy the expression, even babies who are born blind, smile)
• Babies reserve special smiles (Duchenne smiles of joy and happiness) for their loved ones
• A newborn shows a preference for a smiling face over a non-smiling face
• Women smile more than men
• Younger people smile more than older people. American males with high testosterone smile least of all.
• There are 18 different kinds of smile used in a variety of social situations
• Human beings can differentiate between the ‘felt’ (Duchenne) smile (of joy and happiness) and the social smile – ‘it’s in the eyes’ (literally)
• A smiling person is judged to be more pleasant, attractive, sincere, sociable, and competent than a non-smiling person
• A person who studies laughter is called a ‘gelotologist’
Always have a smile and a word for others.
Can smiling help you to move forwards? Are you lacking in confidence and afraid to be noticed? Practice smiling. Think of what you can ask people about themselves and jot down some notes. Try it out on a family member, friend or a colleague that you trust. Think about those people who seem to always have a smile and a word for others. How do they make you feel? You can be like that too.
You can choose to be permanently grumpy or you can choose to cheer up and smile! Have you been putting off the smiles? By smiling you will be releasing endorphins in your brain which will make you feel better (see above). You can even trick your brain into believing you feel good by getting that smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it yet. Do it long enough and you won’t have to fake it.
One of my favorite exercises is to have a ‘Smile Day’. From the moment I get up I decide that I am going to smile at everyone I see. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not, I will still smile, and often say ‘Hello’. It is amazing how many people will smile back. Sometimes you don’t get one in return, but most people are delighted to return it to you. By the end of the day I am much more happy and positive than when I started.
- What makes you happy?
- What do you like doing?
- Where can you include more of this in your life?
Try and smile at at least one stranger each day. For the less confident this could be a challenge – but you can do it!
Happiness comes from many sources, including expressing ourselves creatively. What are you going to do this week to express yourself? I have planned a whole day of crafting, as I have been putting that on the back seat for quite a while. You don’t need to commit to a whole day, just what you can.
A smile costs nothing, however it brings great richness to the recipient.
Happy as You Want to Be
Almost everyone have heard the hit single ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ by Bobby McFerrin. The song has a very catchy way of conveying its message of being happy to everyone. Bobby Mcferiin’s simple message surely made a lot of people by telling them not to worry.
Living a happy, resilient and optimistic life is wonderful, and is also good for your health. Being happy actually protects you from the stresses of life. Stress is linked to top causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.
One of the better things ever said is – ‘The only thing in life that will always remain the same is change’, and in our life we have the power to make the necessary changes if we want to. Even if we find ourselves in an unbearable situation we can always find solace in the knowledge that it too would change.
Social networks or relationships are essential to happiness. People are different, accept people for who or what they are, avoid clashes, constant arguments, and let go of all kinds of resentments. If arguments seem unavoidable still try and make an effort to understand the situation and you might just get along with well with
To be happy is relatively easy:
Happiness is actually found in everyone, increasing it is a way to make a life more wonderful and also more healthy.
To be happy is relatively easy, just decide to be a happy person. Abraham Lincoln observed that most people for most of the time can choose how happy or stressed, how relaxed or troubled, how bright or dull their outlook to be. The choice is simple really, choose to be happy.
There are several ways by which you can do this.
Being grateful is a great attitude. We have so much to be thankful for. Thank the taxi driver for bringing you home safely, thank the cook for a wonderful dinner and thank the guy who cleans your windows. Also thank the mailman for bringing you your mails, thank the policeman for making your place safe and thank God for being alive.
News is stressful. Get less of it. Some people just can’t start their day without their daily dose of news. Try and think about it, 99% of the news we hear or read is bad news. Starting the day with bad news does not seem to be a sensible thing to do.
A religious connection is also recommended. Being part of a religious group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations foster inner peace.
Manage your time. Time is invaluable and too important to waste. Time management can be viewed as a list of rules that involves scheduling, setting goals, planning, creating lists of things to do and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop an efficient personal time management skill. These basic skills can be fine tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to make the results you desire.
Laugh and laugh heartily everyday. Heard a good joke? Tell your friends or family about it. As they also say -‘Laughter is the best medicine’.
Express your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you. They will most likely reciprocate your actions. Try not to keep pent up anger of frustrations, this is bad for your health. Instead find ways of expressing them in a way that will not cause more injury or hurt to anyone.
Working hard brings tremendous personal satisfaction. It gives a feeling of being competent in finishing our tasks. Accomplishments are necessary for all of us, they give us a sense of value. Work on things that you feel worthy of your time.
Learning is a joyful exercise. Try and learn something new everyday. Learning also makes us expand and broaden our horizons. And could also give us more opportunities in the future.
Run, jog, walk and do other things that your body was made for. Feel alive.
Avoid exposure to negative elements like loud noises, toxins and hazardous places.
These are the few simple things you can do everyday to be happy.
And always remember the quote from Abraham Lincoln, he says that:
“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’
Happy – Genuine Happiness Comes from Within
Life isn’t the sweetest candy. Sometimes, when I feel like the world is just too heavy, I look around and find people who continued to live fascinating and wonderful lives. And then thoughts come popping into my mind like bubbles from nowhere – “How did their life become so adorably sweet? How come they still can manage to laugh and play around despite a busy stressful life?” Then I pause and observed for awhile… I figured out that maybe, they start to work on a place called ‘self’.
So, how does one become genuinely happy?
Step 1 is to love yourself.
My theology professor once said that “loving means accepting.” To love oneself means to accept that you are not a perfect being, but behind the imperfections must lie a great ounce of courage to be able to discover ways on how to improve your repertoire to recover from our mistakes.
Genuine happiness also pertains to contentment. When you are contented with the job you have, the way you look, with your family, your friends, the place you live in, your car, and all the things you now have – truly, you know the answer to the question “how to be genuinely happy.”
When we discover a small start somewhere from within, that small start will eventually lead to something else, and to something else. But if you keep questioning life lit it has never done you any good, you will never be able to find genuine happiness.
I believe that life is about finding out about right and wrong, trying and failing, wining and losing. These are things that happen as often as you inhale and exhale. Failure, in a person’s life has become as abundant and necessary as air. But this should not hinder us from becoming happy.
How to be genuinely happy in spite all these? I tell you… every time you exert effort to improve the quality of life and your being, whether it is cleaning up your room, helping a friend, taking care of your sick dog, fail on board exams and trying again, life gives you equivalent points for that.
Imagine life as a big score board like those which are used in the NFLs. Every time you take a step forward, you make scoring points. Wouldn’t it be nice to look at that board at the end of each game and think to yourself “Whew! I got a point today. I’m glad I gave it a shot.”, instead of looking at it all blank and murmur “Geez, I didn’t even hit a score today. I wish I had the guts to try out. We could have won!” and then walk away.
Genuine happiness isn’t about driving the hottest Formula 1 car, nor getting the employee of the year award, earning the highest 13th month pay, or beating the sales quota. Sometimes, the most sought after prizes in life doesn’t always go to the fastest, the strongest, the bravest or not even the best. So, how do you become genuinely happy? Every one has his own definition of ‘happiness’. Happiness for a writer may mean launching as much best selling books as possible. Happiness for a basketball rookie may mean getting the rookie of the year award. Happiness for a beggar may mean a lot of money. Happiness for a business man may mean success. So, really now, how do we become genuinely happy? Simple. You don’t have to have the best things in this world. Its about doing and making the best out of every single thing. When you find yourself smiling at your own mistake and telling your self “Oh, I’ll do better next time”, you carry with you a flame of strong will power to persevere that may spread out like a brush fire. You possess a willingness to stand up again and try – that will make you a genuinely happy person.
When you learn to accept yourself and your own faults. You pass step 1 in the project “how to become genuinely happy”. For as long as you know how to accept others, you will also be accepted. For as long as you love and know how to love, you will receive love ten folds back.
Again, throw me that same question “how to become genuinely happy?”. I’ll refer you to a friend of mine who strongly quoted- “Most of us know that laughter is the best medicine to life’s aches and pain. But most of us don’t know that the best kind of laughter is laughter over self. Coz then you don’t just become happy… you become free.”