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July 2, 2015

Put down that coffee, and Get Some free Happiness!

Flickr/Kenny Louie: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kwl/3061008251/

Here’s a little secret about me that I revealed in my #100daysofvulnerability challenge: I never used to smile, because I thought it made me look ugly.

I was embarrassed by the spaces between my teeth.  During each forced, close-mouthed smile, I felt self-conscious instead of happy.  That amounts to about twenty years of lost positive emotion!

But here’s the thing—smiling is an important part of life. We know this from research that shows how smiling impacts our hormones and lifts our mood. In fact, any facial position can create a desired mood—frowning will make you sad in the same way that smiling will make you happy.

I smile a lot now—and the best part is that I feel the joy behind it when I do.

Did you know that as we get older, people statistically tend to smile less often? Smiling becomes less a matter of instinct, and more a matter of conscious creation.

If I can convince even one reader to share their smile with their world, then I’ll have enough karmic points for a month.  Because there is nothing worse than missing out on potential joy!

Don’t let it happen to you!

Here are 5 ways to create more opportunities to smile:

Fill your home with photos.

Photos of people, places and memories that you love can instantly bring on a smile. These days photos tend to live on our phones or online, so we don’t get as much face time with them as we did in the pre-digital era. Having photos printed from a service like Printic or Shutterfly can add more happiness to your life than you could imagine.

Make a playlist.

Music has a magical way to change our mood, lift our spirits, and give us energy. Of course, it has to be the right music. You are the expert on you—therefore you know what kind of music has this effect on your mood. Create a playlist of songs that lift you up and set it to play when you are doing things around your home.

Use citrus scents.

Citrus scents are natural mood enhancers. They awaken our senses and can even affect our confidence. Lemon and grapefruit pure essential oils are my favorites. Next time you have to sit for a long time, diffuse some citrus essential oils into the air to get some extra smiles going.

Take a break.

Life can be so “go, go, go!” It’s hard to slow down and appreciate all of the good things that are happening. It is very common to not take a break until your body makes you. Do not wait for a sick day, or a big vacation, to take your next break. Schedule a day off just for you. Plan to do things that make you happy and excite you.

Let the sunshine in.

Research has shown the power of sunshine (vitamin D) on our mood. A lack of sunshine is the major cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter depression). Given how much time we spend indoors, it is not uncommon for the lack of sunshine to affect our moods anytime of the year. Open your windows, go for a walk or just step outside to stretch for a few minutes—it will make a world of difference.

Which of these tips are you going to incorporate into your life? Which do you already practice? I’d love to know!

Also, if you have any tips on how to smile more, please share them in the comments below…

Until then, I’m sending you my biggest, toothiest grin—spaces and all!

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Relephant Read:

10 Quotes to Make Us Smile. 

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Author: Danielle Yeager

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Kenny Louie

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