Try the 30-Day Smile Challenge, and Change Your Life
Author: Reggie Odom
Out of the Mouths of Baristas
I just had a great conversation with Kim, one of my two favorite baristas at the local Borders Cafe. She told me about a new philosophy she had for her life.
“I decided,” she said, “that whenever I don’t feel good or there’s someone who is giving me a hard time, I’m just going to smile. And it’s working.” she said with a playful smile.”
That reminded me of a UCLA research study I read several years ago. Researchers took a group of depressed individuals and did a SMILE intervention with them.
The participants in the study did a daily exercise where they would stand in front of a mirror and smile, for some number of minutes. That was the intervention. Their depression decreased significantly. Smiling worked for them just as it is working for Kim.
My conversation with Kim also reminded me of Thich Nhat Han’s meditations in mindfulness that I practiced years ago. He suggested that you smile while you are sitting in meditation.
Thich Nhat Han smiled a lot and I experienced his smiles as genuine. I know enough about his life history to know that he experienced many things that would have made the sunniest personality drop their smile. Smiling also worked for Thich.
Facial expressions impact your aliveness, emotions and behavior. Smiling releases tension and opens up the flow of your life force energy. Your brains relax and their “feel good” neurotransmitters are released when you smile.
Smiling makes a difference for others. Use your own self as an experiment.
How do you feel when you are greeted by a smile versus when you are greeted by a frown or a gloomy face? I come to Borders Cafe mainly because of Kim and my other Barista buddy, Meg. They both smile when they see me.
The Power of Choice
I’m not suggesting that you deny your emotions when you don’t feel good. Awareness is important. But like Kim, you have the Power of Choice as to what to do with them.
Experiencing your emotions is empowering. But it is easy to get lost in low energy feelings if you begin to indulge them. It’s the universal Law of Attraction that “like attracts like.” Low energy feelings and frowns attract more low energy feelings and frowns.
But you can make a choice to do something different. Like Kim you can be aware of and acknowledge the low energy feelings and then release them by doing something different. Like smiling.
Imagine What Could Be Different
Why not get a head start so that smiling becomes a natural response? Smile more often for the sake of smiling.
Imagine what it might do for you and your business if you smiled before making or answering every call. Before responding to emails. Before every conversation with a client or a prospective client.
What would it do for your life if you smiled more? For your health? What if you made it a point to look at your loved one more often, and simply smiled just for the sake of smiling.
The 30-Day Smile Challenge
I’m inspired to give you a 30-day Smile Challenge. I’ll be joining you.
Here it is. Every day for the next 30 days, beginning today, make it a conscious practice to smile every chance you get and at everyone you meet. With one qualification – have no expectation that anyone smile back. Give your smile as a gift!
Post a lot of Smile reminders around if you need to! And Practice, Practice, Practice!
Do you really want to make a difference in your life and a difference in the world? Smile more!! It’s contagious…
Step Into Your Greatness…
Smile every chance you get!
PS I just looked up from my computer to stretch my neck. A lovely elderly gentleman reading Air Space Magazine in the chair across from me looked up at the same time. We smiled a big smile at each other at the same time, naturally. It’s already working!
About the Author
Reggie Odom LICSW, CPCC, PCC is the founder of Inspired Works a Life Coach, inspirational speaker, and lecturer at Simmons College School of Social Work. She is considered a master teacher and unforgettable speaker. Reggie coaches professionals and practice-based entrepreneurs who want more joy and greater aliveness. http://www.reggieodom.com