The world looks brighter from behind a smile.
It must be true – the internet is awash with memes and cute pictures celebrating that fact. There’s possibly also some serious scientific research backing this up, (although given the politics of climate change in Australia, this sort of research doesn’t seem to count for as much as it used to…).
The difficulty with smiling is that sometimes, you just don’t feel that you can plaster that smile on your face before you walk out the door, walk in the door, or – let’s face it – try to walk through the door (on those days when you’re facing mission impossible).
So, here’s some advice that I’m trying to take on board as I continue to wade through a physically and emotionally difficult time in my microcosmos, while trying not to be overwhelmed by greater challenges on a national and global level.*
Ten reasons to smile even when you don’t feel like it
- It gives you two and a half seconds to think.
That stops you saying something that you might regret later.
- It requires less effort than frowning!
While we actually use more muscles to smile than to frown, humans tend to smile more, making our smile muscles stronger. Therefore, smiling is easier.
- It’s a great way to check whether there’s anything stuck in your teeth!
And even if your day is going down the gurgler, you still need to eat.
- It’s catching.
You might make someone’s day, even if you feel that nothing will resurrect your own. Often, when I’ve been feeling down, a cheery smile from someone brightens my day, helping me shift gears into a more positive frame of mind.
- It makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.
Okay, so this isn’t original. It’s a bumper sticker I remember from the ‘80s. But I remember it, and remembering always makes me smile!
- There’s always something to smile about.
Even when your world seems to have collapsed in a heap around you, there’s always something to smile about, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem. The “attitude of gratitude” philosophy can sound a bit twee, but the practical effect of finding something to smile about when it seems that nothing more can possibly go wrong, helps us wrest back a modicum of control in our lives. And that’s worth smiling about.
- You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
As in, you’ll accomplish more by being nice to those around you than by being rude. In general. And rudeness never helps diffuse a difficult situation. Just don’t over-analyse the expression – it’s metaphorical, not literal! In fact, apparently you attract more fruit flies with vinegar than with honey because they’re attracted to the acetic acid. And who wants to catch flies anyway? Like I said…
- Let’s treat others the way we wish to be treated.
It’s the “golden rule” in cultures and religions the world over. Let’s do our bit to make the world a happier place. There’s a time and a place to share our misery. It’s wrong to be falsely happy, or to constantly sweep our negative emotions under the carpet. But it can also be unhealthy to dwell on the negative.
- Because even if you don’t feel like it, a fake smile can eventually provoke a laugh.
And a laugh creates a real smile. Not to mention all those fabulous “feel-good” endorphins. There’s a “science-y” bit for you!
- Because every survival kit should include a sense of humour.
And if you can’t remember any corny jokes, you do at least have one funny bone in your body – the humerus!
Thanks to the internet, laugh-out-loud corny jokes are only a couple of clicks or swipes away. If all else fails, there are cute animal pictures.
But seriously, when the going gets tough, get tough and get going, but if you possibly can, do it with a smile. It will make a difference.
So, until next time, keep smiling, and Happy Wombatting!
*If you are experiencing depression or any other serious mental health issue or similar difficulty, please seek good professional advice. I know from my own circumstances, that you can’t just put on a smile as you would put on a piece of clothing. This piece is not intended to lessen the difficulties some people face every day, as they battle mental health issues.