Smile, Damn It
Posted on December 14, 2011 in Gratitude by Sandra Bienkowski
It amazes me when I go shopping or walk through an airport and see how unhappy people look. Granted, I am not expecting people to be walking by smiling ear to ear. But can’t people look a little bit happy? Content? Present? We wear our moods on our faces, and the news isn’t good people.
When my husband and I go running on the trail in our neighborhood we encounter all types. There’s the grunter, the head nod guy, the woman who doesn’t look up, and the guy who raises one hand to acknowledge our presence. Then there’s this woman we see on occasion who smiles big, asks us how we are, and tells us to have an outstanding day. She exudes positivity and happiness, and shares a little with us as we jog past each other. It’s contagious. But the grunter is contagious too.
I am sure some people are thinking, yeah, but the economy is bad, times are tough, life is a struggle, etc. but here’s the thing—if you wait until everything is perfect before you feel happy, you could be waiting … forever.
If you have a slew of problems or things you are worried about, I am not saying you need to become Mary Poppins, floating through your day with a perfect disposition. You could, however, focus on what’s working in your life and go to work on what’s not working.
1. Take action instead of worrying. Worry is a useless emotion because the only place it takes you is down an emotional black hole. Worry solves nothing. Taking action is the only thing that will make you feel better about problems in your life and it’s the only thing that can solve your problems. Inaction is the worst thing you can do, and worry is a close second.
2. Despite what’s going on in your life, make a new habit to wake up and appreciate the little things from morning to night. Have gratitude by noticing what you enjoy—a good night’s sleep, your morning coffee, taking your dog for a walk, the sunshine, reading a book, a great song on the radio. Too many people plow through their days never taking in all the good mood stuff. Gratitude is the secret to happiness. You can practice living with gratitude—daily.
3. Make an irritation/solution list. You may have times where nothing big is going wrong in your life, but there are a ton of little things that are adding up and weighing heavy on your mood. Grab a piece of paper and write down all those little irritants. Review your list and see how many irritants you can eliminate. You will feel lighter and it’s often an easy mood boost.
4. Watch what you think about. You do become what you think about. If you focus on the negative, that’s who you will be. Choose positive thoughts—about you, about others and about your day. Most importantly, start with positive thoughts about yourself—if you aren’t on your own side—finding happiness will always be out of your reach.
Take responsibility for the mood and the energy you put out into the world. And if you pass us by on a jogging trail, look up and say hello—and smile.