«Smile, it’s free therapy.»
Every once in a while I start work at stupid o’clock, and have to get up at even stupider o’clock. Being a night owl, I will admit that talking to me in the morning can be risky business, at least before I reach the bottom of my second bucket of coffee and third cig. (If you have followed my blog, you know that I am an unhealed smoker, you can read about it here, here, here and here.)
Now, I did not bring you here to talk about healing, nor smoking, and not really about coffee either. However worth mentioning; my level of morning-grumpiness is diametrically opposite my intake of caffeine. (And no inhaling of smoke will also render me a grumpy buggar.)
Say what? You thought I was a forever cheerful and chipper person? You are almost right, because I know how to turn my grumpiness around, and quite possibly your tired-ass, sour-puss frown as well, should we happen to cross paths. Even with very little effort as well!
Now, I won’t bore you with the physiological reactions that are sparked by engaging just a few muscles. There is such an explanation, and I am sure you can find it online if you are interested. There is also a psychological explanation, and this is what I will explain in layman’s terms.
First, let me unveil my big mood-altering weapon; it’s a SMILE!
OK, imagine your average crappy morning; its pouring rain outside, coupled with strong winds. You turned your umbrella inside out 3 times just getting to the bus. You forgot your thermocup of coffee on the kitchen counter, and you are not even sure you turned off the coffee maker. Top it all off with the pain after you stubbed your toe on your way to the bathroom, and the fact that you are fresh out of cigarettes. You decided to get rid of the useless umbrella, your hair is wet, and the rain is making its way down the back of your neck, under your collar – and the bus is late! Dang Nabbitt!
Most people would be quite grumpy under such circumstances as portrayed above. For me, it takes waaaaaay less, I’ll admit!
Now, upon entering the bus (that finally arrived!), you are greeted by a great, big smile and a cheerful «Good morning» Most people will not snap at the bus driver with the great smile, most people will smile back. The mood-altering process has started. The way we are met, does something to us. If you are met with positivity, you will respond in alike manner. Once that first smile has taken place on your lips, the physiological and psychological reactions starts. (Your brain remembers your muscle-usage when you smile and has already linked it with positive associations, thus when you smile – you instantly feel better)
And that is what I do, I smile. I smile at total strangers. I smile at grumpy old buggars, and I throw them a friendly and cheerful «Good morning». Try it, and see what happens! They smile back! You can see a physical change in their faces! And you know what, that makes me feel really good. By the end of the day I have gotten so many «return-smiles» that I feel like a million dollars!
Have you ever read The Secret? This book talks about «Universal energy» and that you get back what you put out. When it comes to smiles and a positive greeting, you really do get back what you put out, in tenfold. It’s not something magical as the book will have you believe, it does have well documented reasons, and it also has a ripple effect. The person you smiled to, and who smiled back at you, is now feeling a little better. He/she will now smile at the next person they meet (because they feel good) and that person will smile back, and then to the next person they meet. The ball is rolling. Ripple effect.
I don’t care if you have stumped your toe, am wet, have a bad hair day. Try a smile, and I guarantee you will feel a little better. Try to smile at another person, and you will feel even better.
Smile much? No? You should! It’s good for ya! (And absolutely free!)
To make sure you train your smile-muscles, I will leave you with the funniest skit ever, from whose line is it anyway, with Richard Simmons. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, then nothing ever will!
(All pictures and memes are all shamelessly stolen off various facebook walls.)