Smiling is more than an expression of how you feel. Simpling reduces stress! A smile can also have positive effects on those you smile at, and could even set the course of your day. It’s crazy how a simple action can have huge rewards. Learn more about how smiling reduces stress and the benefits smiling has on others. A little smile will do you good.
The expression on our face
In Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People, a book every young twenty-something should read, Dale says “The expression on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” Not only that but Dale also mentions what Professor James V McConnell, a psychologist at the University of Michigan says about smiling, “People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children.”
A campus visit, what I saw shocked me!
A while back I visited my alma mater. When I was there I noticed something strange…no one was smiling. I even did the ‘smile test’ in the women’s restroom, you know, when you smile at someone and they smile back? Well, that’s what is supposed to happen, but it didn’t work! I felt invisible. And shocked for that matter. So I tried again in the hallway. Still nothing! When I went outside, I tried again. Not even a look in the eyes! This was getting quite comical.
When I got home from my campus visit, I told my recruiter friend who visits many college campuses what I experienced and how sad I was about the emotionless students. She told me that it isn’t just happening there, the ‘no smiling’ thing is happening on other campuses too. What the heck? Life isn’t that bad, you’re in college!
Smiling and stress relief
Stress is a crazy and life-altering thing. We all know that stress can cause us to make poor decisions. It can make our bodies ill and imbalanced. How can we reduce stress naturally and simply? First, we need to understand how some hormones work.
Endorphins are the ‘feel good’ hormones’. They are produced in your brain to help reduce stress, relieve pain, and improve your mood. What naturally releases endorphins? Exercise can help improve your mood and reduce stress. But what if you don’t want to exercise? You can simply smile or even force a smile. Intermountain Healthcare says, “When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. Then other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins come into play too. The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, whereas the serotonin is an antidepressant.”
What’s the big deal about a smile?
Smiling is a natural, automatic expression we reveal when we are happy or when we feel good. Psychology Today says we pretty much need to smile to stay sane! I don’t know about you, but after a pandemic, political warfare, and pure evil, I think we all better get our Smile on.
Here’s a minor example about smiling; when I was in college I remember a time when I was walking through the Arboretum. On the way to class, a stranger smiled at me. As a natural response, I immediately smiled back. In fact, I remember my smile was over-exaggerated because I was so shocked he smiled! Throughout that day I thought of the smile moment and it honestly made my whole day! I even remember telling my roommates that some random guy smiled at me, not like a slimy-lets-go-on-a-date look, but a ‘hey, hope you’re having a nice day’ kind of smile.
Smiling makes us feel good and it boosts our confidence.
I didn’t know how to smile!
In Kindergarten I didn’t know how to smile. Yep. I had no idea. My sisters tried to teach me but I just couldn’t get the corners of my mouth to go up on cue. Who knows, maybe I was stressed as a kid? Anyway, school picture day was coming up. I desperately wanted to smile, but every time I tried, my lips clamped shut and the corners of my mouth turned down.
How did I learn to naturally smile? With lots of tickling by my sisters in front of the mirror, I finally understood the smile. By 3rd grade, I was smiling on demand. Yes, it apparently took me that long to get it down. Who would have known in my Senior year in high school I got voted ‘best smile’. 🙂
Smile and watch what happens!
If we simply smile more often, we’re going to be happier, less stressed people. Smiling around your kids is a big one. They need to see that you are happy more often than angry. You may have to force a smile at times too, and that’s okay! You deserve to feel good and they deserve it too.
Smiling reduces stress in not only you but in others that receive your smile. Smiling says many things beyond what words, e-mails, tweets, texts, or instant messaging could say. Don’t discredit the smile. Keep on smiling before you forget how to do it, it really does make life a lot more rewarding.
All in all
When you smile, people will be curious about who you are because you look happy. People seek happiness and they want whatever is making you show your teeth. Let’s put our phones down, take our earbuds out, and pay attention to people walking to class or in the grocery store, heck even in the car next to you. Smile and see what they do in return. A little smile will do you good.
Before you go, check out these other posts about reducing stress naturally
Learn more about yourself so you can live a happier life. When we were born, we were born with an identity. One of the problems I see in unhappy people is that they don’t know who they are as an individual. I’ve been there in many seasons in life. Our job is to learn who God created us to be, to not only be happier but to fulfill our deepest need: purpose.
There are times in life when we don’t feel like we’re doing anything; we’re just going through the motions to get through the day. The tug-a-war happens when we want more out of life, we want to make a difference in society, we want a fulfilling life, but don’t know how to go about that because we’re stuck in a cycle of worldly pressures. How can we break away? We do that by understanding who we are.
Do More Than Exist
Do more than exist (DMTE) used to be the name of this blog. Those four words are pretty powerful and say a lot! Do more than exist can mean a variety of things. It can be about getting off the couch, starting a business, getting healthy, raising a family, volunteering, running a marathon, going on a mission trip, contributing to a global cause, or expressing your artistic ability. We all have our own unique meaning behind those four simple words. And we all have a fingerprint that is critical to our success. To do more than exist is to learn more about yourself. Get a Do More Than Exist coffee mug here.
Discovering Who We Are
Discovering oneself is quite a journey. We may go down many paths to look for opportunities, to look for clues of who we are, yet find nothing. I remember way too many rabbit trails I followed, only to find disappointment. “WHO AM I?” I would yell in my mind. Tears streamed down my face out of frustration. I so badly wanted to know what God made me do on this planet.
In my worry, I missed something very valuable. I was so focused on a map that I forgot to look between the paths. Following or trying to follow everyone else made me feel like a failure. I didn’t fit in and thought something was wrong with me! It took me a long while to learn that what worked for someone, didn’t work for my individuality. Let me save you some tissue, the trap of comparison will throw your compass off and you’ll just keep going around in circles if you don’t do something about it.
With that said, let me tell you that your path in life isn’t going to be one path, rarely does that happen. If we want a fulfilled life we’re going to have to adapt to the seasons we’re given in life. When we have children, be a mom. When we have to bring the bacon home, bring the bacon home. It’s okay if we don’t feel purposeful at the moment. But I do ask you this: always learn who you are in the role you play, you will then have a clearer picture of the path you want to take.
9 Easy Ways to Live Beyond our Existence
Taking the time to explore our hearts to understand what we like and dislike is extremely important for our overall happiness. Our hearts shape our lives and our values affect our choices. When our values align with our decisions, something magical happens…a smile on our faces. If you want to learn more about personal values, you can check out my freebie here.
Learn more about yourself
1) Help others.
If you see someone in need, help them! Hold the door, pick up something they dropped, simply do what unto others as you would do unto you. It’s crazy how simple yet complicated with can make life. A happy life isn’t rocket science; get to know your heart and do something.
2) Spend some time alone.
I like to go for walks outdoors on a trail in a park. Spending time alone at home with a fun project or your hobby is also a great way to have fun with yourself. I have even gone to the movies solo. There is something about taking a time-out for yourself without having to worry about a kid or dog, or spouse for that matter. It’s just you. Enjoy the silence and have fun spending time with yourself.
Writing down your thoughts, prayers, and frustrations helps you understand what’s going on in your heart. Over the years I found the tone in my journaling started out pretty rough. I was swearing, mad, and confused about what was going on in my life and relationships. Rarely did I find a positive entry. But that is what journaling is for, an outlet, a venting passage. It’s to give our thoughts permission to leave our minds so we don’t have to think about it anymore...it’s documented on paper so I can now let it go.
On the flip side, journaling is also there to be creative, to document life, and to tell yourself good things. As I grew older I found my journal entries to be much more positive and creative. My journal entries turned into prayers and things I learned. As I flip through the pages it’s gratifying to see how far you’ve come. And to see what seemed like a big deal then is not so now.
4) Engage in an activity you normally wouldn’t do.
Push your introvert-ness aside and step out of your comfort zone for just a little bit. Challenge your limits, physically and mentally. Build your confidence! This may sound silly but I recently went to an estate sale. I did raise my card at one point. Scary! Going to an estate sale might not sound like a big deal to you, but it was something completely out of my normal routine. This is a very small idea of what you can do.
5) Clean out your stuff.
Clutter is toxic. Sifting through your stuff and giving it a good organization will do your mind good. You’ll learn all about yourself and what stuff you like to keep. Maybe you’ll even understand why you want to keep it or give it to someone else. Be sure to check out my post on 5 ways to know how to simplify your stuff. Take a look at your stuff and ask yourself, what does that say about you? At the auction I went to, I learned A LOT about the people who were selling it. So what are you saying to the world with your stuff?
6) Write down what you want to leave behind.
I’m not talking about stuff. What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What do you want to be remembered for? And how can you start doing that today?
Lastly, get busy
Choose an activity at your church or community center and volunteer to help out. This too can be scary. We don’t have much time, especially since we have little ones, so bring them along. It not only helps you feel good about yourself contributing to society, but it shows your kids how to do it. Again you’ll learn about your attitude and capabilities simply by lending a hand. Check this post out on knowing how to start volunteering.
8) Get your body in check.
Stress is a major cause of health issues from muscle imbalances, digestive issues, and heartburn, to even autoimmune disease and who knows what more; stress can physically kill. It’s important to take care of your body, mind, and spirit for your life and your choices depend on it. The way you feel affects your decisions. And your decisions affect your path.
9) Do something creative.
Draw, doddle, sew, design your own landscaping or garden, make your own cookie recipe or stir-fry dish, arrange flowers, move your furniture around, or mow your lawn in a different pattern. Get those juices flowing and see what you create!
By engaging in these activities you will have a better idea of who you are and who you want to become. I suggest starting small. Maybe try one of the nine exploring ways every few days or on the weekends….except for the body one, which should be done every day (wink). When we get to know ourselves better, our path in life becomes clearer and more fulfilling. It’s funny how this simple exercise can give you a wealthier life.
If you can’t physically get outdoors, reading nature quotes will take your mind there. We were born with this internal love that connects us to nature. The awe of sunsets, oceans, and majestic mountains gets our attention. The outdoors is extremely entertaining and incredibly powerful. Things like storms, trees, flowers, and even vitamins like vitamin D can bring healing to our mental health, bodies, and even hearts.
Preparing to enter nature
Do you ever get that feeling something is off-balance, that you just need to get out and breathe? I sure do. In fact, this past weekend I said to my husband, “I have got to get outside and surround myself with nature. I’m feeling anxious and need to clear my head.”
One of the things we can do to prepare for the outdoors is to get in the right mindset. Reading nature quotes is a great way to anticipate your outdoor venture. Nature quotes do a couple of things, they give you a mental visual of what you might experience, and they set the stage. They open your mind and prepare you to open your eyes to things you might otherwise not notice.
Taking a look back to move forward
There is just something about being outdoors; you’re surrounded by the beauty and uniqueness that our pioneers and Native Americans lived in every day. This gives me awe that in some areas of the outdoors it looked the very same as when our ancestors were around.
When I was a child I would play in the woods for hours. I’m sure you can relate if you lived in rural areas. I’d make a fort and play house of course! Making a broom out of a stick and pine branches made me feel purposeful and resourceful. Know what I mean? This is probably why I enjoy camping.
Our children and nature
Outdoor play is so good for our children. It not only stimulates their creativity, but nature actually helps them be creative. Playing outdoors creates confidence. It helps our kids develop a relationship with nature, and it comforts their natural spirit. Playing in God’s creation also brings them closer to Him. Here’s a post you gotta check out: 5 Valuable Ways to Manage Mental Wellness in Kids & Us. It talks about developing a relationship with nature. And gives ideas on how we can get our kids outdoors. It also covers our mental well-being and how to manage it naturally.
Nature can be our secret haven
For some people, like myself, nature is one of our favorite worship sanctuaries, it’s our haven, refuge. It’s informal and a perfect place to be one on one with God. Even if we don’t go into the woods or visit the meadows and mountains or beaches with the intent to worship God, nature has a way of rejuvenating and healing our souls. It’s like osmosis.
Being outdoors doesn’t mean you have to exert a lot of energy to benefit from it, like climbing a mountain or going mountain biking; you can just be, and soak in that unexplainable need for it. It keeps our minds fresh and it maintains equilibrium with our daily lives. There is nothing more pleasing to the eye than the serenity of God’s creation.
7 Amazing Nature Quotes
Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
Verna M. Kelly
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
– Albert Einstein
The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence’ the stars, the sun, the moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.
– Mother Teresa
When I get into the woods my cluttered mind says “Thank you”, my soul says “Ah”, and my spirit whispers “Be still”.
– Christy Troy
The oak sleeps in the acorn. The bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of reality.
– Napoleon Hill
I can’t change the wind, but I can adjust the sails to reach my destination.
– Jimmy Dean
Wrapping it up
John Muir loved nature and God. He published over 300 articles and 12 books about wilderness, nature, and preservation. He co-founded the Sierra Club which helped establish a number of national parks. John says it perfectly here,
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
– John Muir
May you make an effort to get out into your haven over this next week, to read some of these nature quotes before heading out in nature, to take a step back into time and see the world through the eyes of the pioneer and Native American. You may be surprised at what nature does for your heart and soul.
How to build self-esteem is so critically important, that it WILL affect your future. I’m not saying for you to walk around and boast about yourself. In fact, the people who have the greatest self-esteem are those who listen more and talk less. I have 3 tips to help us know how to build self-esteem right now.
Lately, I have been reviewing my life and asking myself if I’m happy with how I’ve been living. In most areas of my life I can confidently say Yes, I love it. But in others, I can’t say yes. And when I can’t say yes, I start comparing myself to others in that particular area. And then I find myself with low self-esteem that seems paralyzing.
Comparing and Self Esteem
Yes, I’m jumping right to the Bible. There are many Biblical truths about self-esteem, we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we are chosen (John 15:16) to name a few. But there is one verse that really strikes me. Before I mention it, I want you to know that when we start comparing and trying to be like everyone else… just to be liked…that’s when low self-esteem makes its way to our thoughts, words, and actions. Is that what you want? I, personally, do not want you in this place. I’ve been there and it made me gain weight, brought on depression, and affected my path in life. Live in the freedom with who you are today and everyday in moving forward.
A good verse to memorize
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…His good, pleasing, and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
This verse is a good one to memorize, especially if you find yourself comparing and going along with the crowd. Not to mention how to build self-esteem. Claim this scripture as yours. Pray it, say it, and be aware of what you are putting into your mind. I was finding myself comparing my pattern of life to others’ patterns of life. The reason I started to even do that was because of one area in my life that wasn’t like everyone else’s, my career.
The comparing game
Seeing other people climb the corporate ladder, own a thriving small business, and stay in the job for years on end, can make us feel icky. The problem was comparing. And how can I even start to compare? Everyone’s life is so incredibly different. We don’t know what others’ childhood was like, we don’t know their educational background, we don’t know what happens at home, and we don’t know the problems they deal with, so what right do we have to compare or judge for that matter? We don’t have a right. In fact, these “successful” people may be comparing themselves to you and want what you have!
So what do we do?
We mind our own business and focus on the goals we are passionate about. Our job is to enhance our talents, abilities, and gifts and to know how to love others by using what we’ve got. Our Creator (God) made us to be us and no one else. We need to trust in Him to embrace who we are and love ourselves. When we love ourselves, we can love others the way we love ourselves (Mark 12:31). Yet, there is one thing we must have to move forward, motivation.
3 Tips to help stop comparing and how to build self-esteem:
1. Pray for your eyes to be opened to the talents, abilities, and gifts God has given you to be revealed and for your mind to be renewed.
2. Remind yourself that everyone is different… every day. Comparing is not helpful at all! Read affirmations daily. When you talk to yourself in a loving way, your self-esteem grows tremendously. This is a powerful exercise that will help you to love yourself. Get to know who you are. By the way, loving yourself isn’t selfish or conceited. You can download a list of my favorite affirmations in Freebies.
3. If you want something to happen, YOU need to make it happen. We can dream all day, but executing those dreams is scary. Ask yourself “How bad do I want it?” If you want it bad enough, you’ll need to pull your big girl pants up and go get it. You got this. Please keep moving forward without regrets. Take things step by step.
All in all
God is with us every step of the way, He wants us to enjoy life and flourish. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, instead help the world come alive by being YOU. Your uniqueness is an amazing gift, use it while you have it.
Corn on the cob. A vegetable that gives you a rich buttery taste and a little crunch. Who doesn’t enjoy this golden treat? It’s so delicious and versatile! Why not sing a song about it? This song was a fun mom-and-son activity I did years ago. It’s been hanging out on YouTube, I’m just sharing our corny creation with you. May you be inspired to write your own jingles. Simple, clean, happy fun!
A MUST for road trips
When you think of a road trip do you think of singing family songs like She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain or I’ve Been Working On the Railroad? Well, you’re in luck with a new song to add to your road trip mix or the dinner table. When you’re driving through Iowa, Illinois, or Nebraska bust out the vocal cords. In honor of being the states that grow the most corn, this song should be the national corn song of America!
The song write
I created this jingle back in 2013 while driving along a road in Michigan lined with cornfields. My son was five-years-old and we had a ball singing this song. The song talks about how it grows, what uses corn has, and more. Super kid-friendly and corny.
After the song was written, it was just too good to keep to ourselves; so my niece, son, and I created a music video and put it up on YouTube. With over 25,000 views…not too shabby for a corny jingle…I still enjoy singing the song during the corn on the cob season.