We all have our good days when things go right – as well as the ones when it’s hard to bring on the smiles. Here are six good, simple ways to stress less and smile more often. I’ve gathered them from experience, prayer, friendly [and important] advice, and scriptures:
1. Get out more.
I mean, like….. out …. outside. Feeling the wind, smiling up at the sun, tasting the snowflakes, spreading arms and dancing around in the rain. It’s fun! And smart. While we’re out there – taking it all in – we might remember to thank God for the gift of being able to stand there and feel the goodness of it. My new thing is to drive up the canyon with my hubby, all the way to the top, where there’s a beautiful lake. And walking path around it. It’s my happy pill. Plus, I get to see moose and stuff now and then. That’s cool! Noticing details is a good thing, too. Because God is in the details.
Mm hmm, I know this sounds like the same ol’ thing that everyone tells us.. the doctor, the baker, the candlestick maker.. whomever. Exercise releases those endorphins that make us feel better. Sometimes, I stomp my stress away. Moving more slowly than I used to, but still with effective stomping ability. Despite resistance, I start smiling inside. Having had a fair share of physical challenges that kept me out of the exercise loop for long periods of time, I’m happy when I’m able to exercise. Some days, it’s just walking the perimeter of the backyard. I count it, though!
3. Be a peacemaker.
The Savior reminded us that the peacemakers are blessed. [I love the Beatitudes.] I have a bad habit of talking over the other person. I don’t know why the words fly out before their properly appointed time. It’s bothersome. And harder to acknowledge the other person’s point of view when I’m not listening enough. Arrgghhh.
I’m working on it. And peace making is a lifetime job. Listening better can sometimes help to more quickly resolve a conflict. For some things in life, there may be no resolution. So, peace making is sometimes a process of coming to be at peace in myself- like picturing the most serene nature landscape; then applying it to my soul. The more I hold on to that peace inside my heart, the more smiley it feels inside. You know?
4. Get some rest.
This piece of advice is old as the hills. Important advice, offering good benefits. It’s easier to think through things reasonably instead of reacting emotionally when I’m rested. The world seems a more friendly place. Sometimes I have a tendency to run faster than I have strength. It’s not smart to do that. More rest equals a more calm – and smiley- me. It’s h a r d, sometimes. But another piece of advice that works.
5. Do something for the other guy. Or gal.
Little things matter. A lot. We get in our own way when we wait for some Big Idea in order to make a difference in the world. It’s not a Go Big Or Go Home proposition. Any little tiny gift of caring matters. Here’s where a smile can multiply exponentially, because we’re growing our own smiles as we share them. Some of those folks who received a big smile from us? They go and share, and so on. Awesome.
Thanks to the movie Elf, a lot of people know this line:
I love smiling. Smiling’s my favorite.
Such a simple way to do something nice! Finding our groove for doing a little something positive is a really good activity. And no keeping score! I think we enjoy the journey more when we pass along kind deeds as though they are seeds, letting them dance carefree into the current of life, while we keep walking in a positive, smiley direction.
6. Build the connection with ones you love, and those who love you.
Nothing is better, and nothing brings more smiles to our soul, than growing love. It really does make the world go around. Building implies doing. I agree with the principle taught in an old Mormonad series that ran on television:
If you love ‘em, tell em
Jesus Christ lived a life of charity – pure love. He taught this simple counsel:
As I have loved you, love one another.
It is as potent a counsel now as when it was first offered. The older I get – the more I ponder it, roll it around in me, and try to figure it out – the more I appreciate it. I can’t love like He loves. But I can enjoy working at it, by doing little things in a better and more smiley way.
There are elements of life that work at pulling us down. Some days are darker than others…big old dark, rolling clouds and hurricane strength winds. But even the happy ones are better when we figure out ways to bring on the smiles.
Life isn’t simple. Just ask – anyone. But to figure out a few ways to smile more – that’s simple and good.
And goodness matters!