Smile

When you smile, you’re effecting a change in your whole physiology and I would argue, in your whole world. When teaching a class I often have the kids put their hands up to their cheek bones and move that part of the face around a little. Because whenever that part of your face moves you’re activating the feel-happy endorphins that actually “ up” your immune response, that makes you feel better. You’re raising your face, you’re raising your immunity, you’re raising your mood – and as a result you’re also affecting change in everyone around you. It’s hard to be mad at someone who’s smiling at you. Smiles are catching, just like the measels, only a lot more fun.

I have a new mantra: Walk slower, stand taller, breathe deeper, smile sweeter. ( sounds like a good title for a book even). But smiling has began to take a central place in my life in recent years. I was raised a Catholic, and a good Catholic doesn’t smile much. Joy. I wouldn’t say it was central in any of the religions. My dream teacher once commented on that fact, by noting that Padre Pio used to say “a saint who is sad, is a sad excuse for a saint.” In other words, get over yourself and lighten up already!

Today I push myself to smile more ‘n more – it seems to change the whole feeling of the day and it’s something WE ALL HAVE CONTROL OVER. You really can choose to be joyful. So do!

Smiling hasn’t been on anyone’s curriculum and its lack is sorely felt. When I studied Theology – I found that the history of religion was full of blood and gore , hardship, and cross-carrying, sacrifce and misery. Little of joy to be seen there. “Ecce Homo” has shown us the image of a suffering Christ. This image has been hanging over us for centuries. With the coming of the New Age, that picture changes: the image of humanity going forward is now the picture of a beautiful, blossoming, colourful rose.The picture of joy!

Smiling is an attitude to life, it’s a willingness to engage, it’s a sincere expectation that life has all kinds of goodies waiting in the wings for you. And you fully expect the best. Fake it till you make it? Works well here too. Smiling has the same wonderful effect whether you mean it or fake it!

Thich Nhat Hanh in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness, says when you wake up, even before you open your eyes, “take a deep breath and smile” Also half-smile when you’re irritated, taking a few deep breaths…There’s a whole physiology that’s helping set you on the path of peace and mindfulness.

Betty White, who’s now 98 and counting, is a great example of a life well-lived – lived with joy and humour and full of life energy! Legendary star of “The Golden Girls”, television pioneer, talk-show host, actress, singer, comedienne extraordinaire, she’s widely known for her great spirit, energy, and sense of humour.”It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon you can find humour in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a life-saver.” (from a Woman’s World Icons: Betty White).

People have told me “Betty, Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with old friends”.

My answer is: At my age, if I wanted to keep in touch with old friends, I’d need a Ouija board.

Smile. Happy looks good on you

Visit the website FrightFree.com

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