Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Smile - it is contagious!  Have you ever heard that?  I love to watch people's smiles.  Some smiles are just so contagious that you cannot help but smile back.

I did some research into the muscles that it takes to smile compared to the muscles that it takes to frown, and there are differences of opinions on this one.  But pretty much everything that I found shows that it takes twice as many muscles to frown as it does to smile.  So smiling is actually less work, using less facial muscles.  It therefore makes sense, to all of us who choose to get away with the least amount of work as possible, we should always be smiling.

I personally love to smile.  Even when I don't feel like it, if I can find something to smile about, even a memory, smiling will always make me feel a bit better.  If I keep smiling, then I eventually can feel much better.  

Now I know that sometimes it is really hard to smile, especially when you feel like crying.  Sometimes there might be a smile there, that is masking what is really behind it.  And that's okay.  I am going to talk about this more in my next post - Behind The Smile - but, today I just want to talk about why you should keep smiling, even when you don't want to.

"When we laugh, our bodies respond positively. There is a decrease in stress hormones (cortisol, adrenaline and dopac) and an increase in beta-endorphins (which lower feelings of depression) and human growth hormone (which helps protect us against disease and infection)."  From how stuff works.  They also say that even if you fake laugh, your brain responds to it.  In fact some people say that if you laugh a lot, you can actually be healthier and live longer. 

Now here are a few tips on burning calories - the health lesson for today - reading for 15 minutes can actually burn 22 calories,  and here are a few more from How Stuff Works, doing the activity for 15 minutes:
  • Biking over 20 mph (32 kph): 273
  • Jogging: 171
  • Stationary bike: 170
  • Downhill skiing: 102
  • Ballroom dancing: 77
  • Drinking eight glasses of water a day 70
  • Gardening: 68
  • Shooting pool: 42
  • Shopping: 40
  • Driving: 34
  • Typing: 25
  • Laughing 10 - 40 calories
 Laughing for 15 minutes a day isn't a huge calorie burner, but it has many other side effects as well as burning calories, it is good for the soul.  Nobody likes to be sad and depressed.  Life does however, through at us things that sometimes are hard to handle.  How we choose to deal with these things, will decide whether we are happy with life, or sad.

I can't imagine that each one of these ladies has had an easy, trial free life.  In fact, I am sure that many of those creases and wrinkles on their faces are full of stories of challenges and heartache, along with much laughter and happiness.  But honestly, can you say that you can't look at their awesome smiles, and not smile back.  I can't.  Every time I look at them, I just have to smile and laugh and think that I hope I can still have a bright smile when I get to be at this stage of life!  They are just too priceless.

If a child smiles at you, could you ever not smile back?  I just couldn't do that.  A child's smile means so much to me. 

Children are natural Zen masters; their world is brand new in each and every moment. -- John Bradshaw

I read a quote that said:  I want to be remembered as the girl that always smiles even when her heart is broken, and the one that could always brighten up your day, even when she couldn't brighten up her own. 

I am not certain who said this, but this is how I feel.  That would be a great legacy to leave behind.  That would be a great thing for someone to read at your funeral, at my funeral, someday.
It is not always easy to smile.  In fact sometimes it is darn hard.  And on those days when it is too hard, that is when I choose to go spend a bit of time alone, until I feel like I can send smiles out again.  Sometimes when I feel like that,  I have to get away from myself and go serve someone else who needs help, and then most definitely it always puts my own self pity back into perspective.  There is always someone else out there who has bigger challenges than yourself.  I never have to look very hard to find them. 

I read a quote by Oprah Winfrey:  Only surround yourself with people who will lift you higher.  Now I don't mean to say don't be friends with someone who is sad, or lonely, or depressed.  What I am saying with this one, is choose your friends wisely.  This is something that I have always told my kids to do.  Choose your friends wisely.  Your friends will make or break who you are.  They will feed your positive energy, or they will zap any energy right out of your body.  I call negative friends fun suckers, because they suck all the fun and happiness out of you.  It is okay to be friendly with these kind of people, and offer help when you can, but don't spend too much time with them, because instead of you turning them to the bright side, they will inevitably turn you to the "dark side".  A little Star Wars pun intended!  :)

Another quote I found, that goes with this picture:  A good friend is like a four leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have.

I guess all in all - smiling is healthy both physically and emotionally.  Smiles are contagious.  Smiles can make you feel better even if they are fake.  Fake your way through it, until it becomes real.  There are no challenges that we cannot overcome with a little help from on high.  Keep smiling, you never know when you will save someones life with your little smile.  True story!


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