I used to enjoy listening to the 10:00 p.m. news, reading the morning paper; but now, not so much. I hate to get depressed at the start of my day, so I rapidly scan the paper, check the weather, the ads, and the word Jumble. Sometimes, I even check my computer.
You have to live in a cave with a bag over your head not to realize we live in a scary world. We do, and we are overexposed to that bad stuff all the time. I hope I never reach a state where I become desensitized to bloodshed and body parts. However, we sometimes need to set our own dials and push “happy.”
Now that my little rant is over, I want you to consider these ideas… I blame Mother Teresa of Calcutta for these thoughts. She advised everyone to gift the people you meet with a sincere smile. You know the kind of smile where you make eye contact and are aware of another human. Kindly smiles beget kindliness…sometimes.
With that thought in mind I tried two bitty experiments.
EXPERIMENT ONE: This morning I just smiled at myself. Alone, in my living room, there I was smiling, and I immediately felt silly. So to the smile I added some happy thoughts, and guess what? I smiled again. For some crazy reason, I felt in charge of my day.
EXPERIMENT TWO: My daughter called. (This gets weird.)
Me: Julie, I want you to smile and say, “Hello, Mom.”
JULIE: Do you feel okay. Should I call 911?
ME: No, humor me. This is an experiment. Just smile and say, “Hello mom,” but smile like you mean it, okay.
JULIE: Hello, MOM. I’m smiling.
ME: I’m smiling back. How do you feel?
JULIE: (Laughing.) Mom, I’m fine, but I’m a little worried about you.
And that was that, but, I have another unscientific theory. When you smile or laugh, all the muscles in your face relax thereby releasing the tension that causes wrinkles. For a fact, happy faces look younger longer.
Be proactive, smile at a stranger.