Throwing Down the SMILE Gauntlet

It’s FRIDAY! It is a day we all love to celebrate and a day that makes most of us smile.

In an article, The Untapped Power Of Smiling, he wrote last year for Forbes, Ron Gutman offers some very interesting statistics regarding smiling. Things like longer life, better marriages, more success and less stress. I think his ending paragraph sums up the varying studies “So now, whenever you want to look great and competent, improve your marriage, or reduce your stress…or whenever you want to feel as good as when you’ve enjoyed a stack of high quality chocolate without incurring the caloric cost, or as if you randomly found 25 grand in the pocket of a jacket you hadn’t worn for ages…or when you want to tap into a superpower and help yourself and others live longer, healthier happier lives…SMILE :-)”

Yesterday I read a blog post – 88 Ways To Make A Stranger Smile while I don’t agree that all 88  are ways to make a stranger smile,  I do think it is a list of 88 ways to make someone smile. So, for today step out of your world of Self Absorption and let’s trying doing something for someone else. Like making a stranger (or even someone you know) smile!  If you try it, you may just smile and well, that’s good for your health 😀

Here are a few of my favorite for making a stranger smile:

  • Be a courteous driver.  Let people merge in front of you.
  • Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.
  • Give a compliment about a waiter, waitress, sales clerk, etc. to his or her manager.
  • Compliment a stranger’s appearance.  Flatter them
  • Help an elderly person carry something.
  • Donate blood.
  • Smile often.
  • Clean up after yourself.
  • Donate food to a charity.
  • Hold a door open for someone.
  • Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
  • Put some change in an expired parking meter.
  • Send letters of appreciation to business owners/managers and other people who support you.
  • If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.

I am tossing down the gauntlet! Go forth and make smiles today!  On your face, the face of those you know and love, but also for strangers!

Happy Friday!

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Living like a Dog

If you know anything at about me, you probably know I love dogs. I have loved dogs since my very first encounter with them. There are so many things I love about them – not the least of which is their innate ability to live with abandon! A dog will throw everything they have into chasing a ball, or their own tail. They are eager to please and quick to forgive.

This week one of mine was sick. Long story short, he had eaten something he shouldn’t (a sock). However as soon as he eliminated the source of his sickness, he immediately began to live life to its fullest. It was as if he had no recollection of the days he spent lethargic and ill.

Too often we spend our time thinking and letting our brain churn on things that are past. We rethink and rehash what we did or perhaps what someone did or said that affected us. When the reality is we are wasting time and energy.

Try living your life with abandon! Let the past be in the past and focus on the future.

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Stop the Insanity

Do you ever go through those times when you feel as if the whole universe is against you? Me too! In August 2010 I wrote five tips for what to do when everyone’s against you. Today I went back to read the tips hopeful to glean some insight and inspiration. :\

So, I feel as if I have walked into the weekend from hell! It started Friday morning, continued to Friday afternoon and evening. So naturally, I thought things come in threes – Morning, Afternoon and Night – I’m done, let the good times begin! But regrettably the universe isn’t finished with me and as I sit here on Sunday night pontificating, the fun is still happening (seriously my dog is spewing from both ends – send prayers).

So I have done what every good google guru does, I googled ‘what to do when everything is going wrong’. And I discovered this wonderful article of good tips by Archie Dobbins called Staying Sane When Everything is Going Wrong. In it Archie gives ten tips – I’ll share a few of them with you (the ones I am trying right now):

1: STOP! Breathe in deeply, and slowly, hold for a few seconds, then slowly breathe out. Do this 3 times. This will prevent hyperventilation, you know, the short, rapid breaths and the elevated heartbeat and temperature.

2: GET AWAY! Try to get away from the source of irritation. If you can’t escape to a quiet place for five minutes, try just sitting down with your eyes closed. This will lower the amount of stimulus to the brain.

3: REMEMBER! Who are you, really. Deep down inside, away from the clutter of your fast paced life, there is the person that you see yourself as. Maybe it is when you were in a certain grade in school, and you felt the best about yourself, maybe it was after winning, perhaps it is as you see yourself in the mirror now. Whatever is the best image you have of yourself, close your eyes and see it.

4: AFFIRM! Don’t be afraid to say to yourself, “I’m OK. I am a good person. I deserve to be loved. I love others, and I am good for them. I am feeling better, already.

5: CHOOSE! How the day goes from here is your choice. Expect the best. It beats the alternative.

Archie then suggests that you ‘reward yourself.’ So in that spirit, I’ve now eaten a sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. The world should be better soon!

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You’re in Charge

When I was a young adult and would go to my farther for advice, he would always end the conversation with ‘You’re in Charge’. Naturally, I believed he was talking about how much I should put in retirement, or if I should trade vehicles, or change jobs. Now that I am much older, I realize that his statement holds true for just about everything in life.

We ARE in charge!

We are in charge of our emotions; our successes and our failures. We are in charge of who we allow to upset us or how we derive joy.  No one controls our destiny but us!

What will you embrace today?

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Fighting the Fear Factor

Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain. ~ Mark Twain

My dog is extra large; however he has a fear of jumping in the bed. It is an easy leap for smaller dogs, but for the big guy jumping in the bed is a scary, gut-wrenching thought. He cries to get in, and then runs away if he thinks you’re going to ‘help’ him in. Then the moment his feet hit the bed he dances around like Rocky at the top of the Philadelphia stairs, his pride in making it onto the bed is palpable. He wants to reach his goal of being in the bed, but his fear of doing it keeps him from making the leap with out human intervention.

How many times in life do you really want something? You really really want to run a race, or write a book, or lose a few pounds but you allow your fear to get in the way? Like my dog you see all the things that could go wrong. We talk and cry about our goals. We tell people what we want. Yet, we find every excuse to not start today. Fear overtakes us and we see all the obstacles and our fear grows until we are immobilized by our fears. When in reality, a full concentration on the elation you will feel when you arrive is all that is necessary.

Today stop crying at the foot of the bed of your goals! Today take the leap!

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Stop Sabotaging Your Mood

Want to solve a problem? You can improve your problem solving skills by inducing a positive mood. If you can get yourself to a positive mood, you can improve your cognitive flexibility. Sound crazy?  A 2010 study in Psychological Science shows that inducing a positive mood can improve one’s cognitive flexibility.

The question then is how do you get into a good mood and how do you stay there?

Probably if you really thought about it, you could find the ‘trigger’ got most bad moods. Perhaps your spouse spoke sharply to you or you were unable to fit into your favorite outfit due to the five pounds you recently gained.  Consider in these examples the role that your thoughts play in all this. It wasn’t the event that was the root of your mood, it was the conversation you had with yourself related to the event.

You can learn to take responsibility and learn how to process information differently–in a more positive light.

Below is a video of Dr. Darryl Cross, an Executive and Personal Coach as well as a clinical psychologist.   In the video, Dr Cross explains how we get ourselves into this negative self-talk mess and more importantly he is even going to explain an exercise to get you thinking positively within in two weeks.

To be successful and mange and minimize negative self-talk you must:

1)     Become aware of your negative self-talk.

2)     Understand the origin of your negative self-talk and the mechanisms behind.

3)     Practice exercises that will slowly re-program you to process information in a positive light.


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