My New Year’s Resolution for 2012 is to smile more and practice #SmileYoga.
In smiling more, I feel better.
The good feeling starts from the corners of my mouth moving upwards, to the inhale of fresh air, holding my breath for a moment while I find a happy thought, then exhaling as I feel the bad air leave my body – seemingly through my heart.
After a few breaths, I feel much better.
#SmileYoga can be done anywhere and at anytime. When I find that I am frowning or just in the need of a lift, I take a moment to myself and borrow some techniques from yoga.
The first step is to turn the corners of my mouth upward, already beginning to feel the difference.
Closing my eyes is optional, otherwise, I just don’t focus on anything around me – except maybe something that might help to generate the emotion which helps a smile along.
The first step is to turn the corners of my mouth upward, just a little bit; already I begin to feel the difference.
Then I take a moderately deep breath in, not so much for others to notice the effort, but more of a breath than normal. As I breathe in, I bring a good thought or memory into my heart.
I then let the air out a little slower than usual – again, not so much as to attract attention.
Then, as in yoga, I move the corners of my mouth up just a little more.
I take in another fresh breath, with more good thoughts.
Hold that breath and thought for just a second.
Let the breath out slowly, taking with it some of the bad from your day.
Repeat until you can feel the smile all the way into your heart.
As I go through my everyday movements, I try to smile at just about anyone I pass. Some of the people don’t even seem to notice. Many though, will give a smile in return.
The other day we were driving up 95 between Washington and Baltimore; sitting in the front passenger seat, I smiled at each vehicle we passed. Many of the drivers did not even look over to see me. Many gave an immediate smile in return.
As we passed one man in particular, he looked over at me with a ‘down’ expression on his face. He looked as though his whole day was going in the wrong direction. He didn’t seem to respond to my smile, as we passed. Then as often happens in traffic, he passed us a moment later. At that point he made an effort to pace beside us, as he gave a beautiful full smile in return. Several minutes later we passed him again, he noticed us approaching in the pack of cars and gave me another great smile. I felt great after that – thinking that just maybe that smile had helped to turn a 180 on the way he felt about his day. I imagined he took that smile home to his family.
The Easiest Resolution
My resolution is one of the easiest I have ever made. So far I have been able to keep it going, and we have one month of 2012 under our belts.
Regardless of what has been handed to me each day, I strive to find a smile, I have learned that smiling from the outside in is almost as effective as smiling from the inside out. Eventually your whole body catches up to the feeling, and you continue to smile.
Smiles as a Weapon
The other day I was dealing with someone who had basically totally lost his cool. He was ranting about something over which neither of us had any control, but I was seemingly the one to blame. It drove him nuts when I started to practice my #SmileYoga. He couldn’t understand why I was smiling as he continued his rant. Eventually, his rant simmered down to a boil, then to a simmer.
After he calmed down, he asked why I was smiling at him. Didn’t I understand the severity of the situation? Yes, I did, but I couldn’t do anything to change the situation.
I told him rather than cry at his rant, I chose to smile at the thought of what it would be like when the wrong was corrected. It drove him nuts, but he didn’t know how to respond.
Smiles Are Contagious
Like laughter and giggles, smiles are contagious. If a person is at all receptive to your smile, they will respond in kind, and possibly pass the smile on to yet another person.
I was waiting for someone at Target to check on something for me. I smiled at everyone that passed me. Many smiled back. Then I noticed that the ones that smiled at me smiled at the next person they passed.
Many times when you smile at a small child they will respond with a smile of their own. My favorite reaction though, is when they giggle or squeal with delight. That is when a lot of other people turn to smile, as well.
If you have the time, maybe while waiting for someone or something, try your own experiment: smile at a stranger, see if they smile back at you. If they do, chances are that they will pass that smile to the next person they pass.
In this season of contagions, smiles are the one contagion you will enjoy! Maybe one of those you smile at needs a smile more than anything else to make their day feel better.
Practice #SmileYoga and pass smiles on to anyone and everyone you meet.