Tag Archives: Smile

Five Reasons to Smile… A lot!

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“You always look happy.” One of my neighbors said this to me once while out walking my dogs. Guess I was caught smiling again.

A smile can make a positive impact in any situation. It’s contagious. This is something we need to remember now that the holidays are here. You can enjoy those holiday parties and meals more by simply smiling.

The holidays are an opportunity to help reinforce the values and beliefs that are important to us. Yet many people feel overwhelmed and complain that they just want to survive the holidays. That’s a red-flag that values are taken for granted and you should adjust the traditions that have been set.

Even if you don’t feel “it” or aren’t in the moment, the simple act of smiling can change that perspective. Who cares if your Aunt Betty brings a casserole dish over for Christmas dinner that you won’t eat and find kind of gross? Focus on the good things happening. It’s best to just smile and be thankful for the moment to be there together. Continue reading

Five Reasons to Smile…A lot!

smile

By Brigitte Cutshall

“You always look happy.” One of my neighbors said this to me once while out walking my dogs. Guess I was caught smiling again.

A smile can make a positive impact in any situation. It’s contagious. This is something we need to remember now that the holidays are here. You can enjoy those holiday parties and meals more by simply smiling.

The holidays are an opportunity to help reinforce the values and beliefs that are important to us. Yet many people feel overwhelmed and complain that they just want to survive the holidays. That’s a red-flag that values are taken for granted and you should adjust the traditions that have been set.

Even if you don’t feel “it” or aren’t in the moment, the simple act of smiling can change that perspective. Who cares if your Aunt Betty brings a casserole dish over for Christmas dinner that you won’t eat and find kind of gross? Focus on the good things happening. It’s best to just smile and be thankful for the moment to be there together. Continue reading

From Intent.com: Get Happy!

I love that the sun is starting to stay a little longer every day.
Is there still a polar vortex? Is that still happening?
I think it’s safe to say everyone is over the polar vortex.
We’re ready for the sun.

It’s such a joy hanging out with the folks on Intent.com because no matter the weather- rain, clouds, Los Angeles- they are always so focused and driven to live whole-hearted, healthy lives.

Right now, in the wake of Spring and the Olympics, we’re hearing a lot of buzz about happiness. Some of my favorite words about happiness?

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
-Marthe Troly-Curtin

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
-J.R.R. Tolkien

“I’ve got nothing to do today but smile.”
-Paul Simon

What makes you happy?
What places in your life could use a little happiness?
Here are a couple of things you could do to help you find it:

1. Keep a gratitude journal. Some people keep track of happy moments or things via journal or awesome jar or some other method for recording and saving.

2. Meditation. Take a few moments in your morning to focus on what you’re looking for. “Today I intend to find happiness in even the smallest moments.” Keeping that at the forefront of your mind all day has this way of making those bight spots of happy all the brighter when they happen because you’re not bussing right by. You’re training your eyes to see them.

3. Set an intent. I’d be remiss if I did not encourage you to create your own Intent.com profile. You can share your intentions (the one about happiness seems like a good place to start!), get feedback and encouragement, keep track of how you’re doing, whatever you need it to be. You have the opportunity to combine the perks of a journal with real humans who are walking alongside with you. So why not? Check out these intentions:

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So, as the Patridge family so famously sang, “come on, get happy!”
We’re with you!

Be Happy: 6 Tools to Get You Smiling in No Time

Photography is in my heart What is happiness? The dictionary gives us a definition with synonyms, almost too many of them but in a nutshell all the words represent a good feeling, and feeling good is the natural quest in life. But how to arrive there or better still how to be in that state of feeling good, more or less continuously?

We associate happiness with “when …  then.” When I have what I want then I will be happy. What I want may be drawn from the well of careers, finances, relationships or more specifically that particular job, or income or mate … and yet those who have attained what they desire find that the resulting happiness is very short lived or eludes them completely. And then the cycle begins again. Furthermore, to quote Srikumar Rao, whatever it is that we can get we can also “un-get” making the source of our happiness very precarious.

Practices Leading to Happiness

There are many roads to happiness and some more personal than others. Nevertheless they are there for each and everyone of us.

First Tip is to invest or focus on the process, as explained by Srikumar Rao. Another way of saying this is to focus on the journey and not on the destination. Make it a practice to start each day with an inspiring message. I often find myself waking up feeling rather flat, perhaps because here in Vancouver we are in a season of much rain and little sunshine but by the time that I am finished watching Enjoy the Ride my spirits have notched up several degrees. Make use of aids such as this video or music or whatever it is that makes your heart sing.

Second Tip is to learn the practice of deep breathing. Fill your lungs with oxygen by slowly counting to four as you breathe in and then in a controlled manner breathe out counting at least to five or six. Initially this may be a challenge but the more that you practice it the easier it will become. Oxygen is an amazing drug and your lungs, the organ that processes the oxygen, has receptors connected to the brain that trigger different “emotions”. For example, the top third of the lung is designed to trigger flight or fright; so if you breathe in a very shallow manner then the oxygen only fills the top part of your lung. This means that the receptors will send messages to the brain telling you to get ready for a fight or to run for your life. So breathe deeply and enjoy the calming effect. It is pretty difficult to be happy if you are in flight mode, if you are not calm.

Third Tip is to move. Movement makes energy flow. We are energy and when we are not happy then the flow of energy is not vibrating at a very high level. Go for a walk, even if it means getting off the bus a couple of stops before your destination or parking the car at the furthest corner of the parking lot. Walk with enthusiasm, throwing back your shoulders and swinging your arms. Go to a yoga class. Go to an exercise class or go for a swim and smile while you are moving your body.

Fourth Tip is to smile. Put a smile on your face, making eye contact with the person that passes you and flashing them a smile. You will be amazed by the response. And it will also have magical effects on you. It will fill your heart and make you glow. A smilereleases endorphins and therefore, like oxygen, is a powerful drug. Smiles also dispel energy vampires, a phrase coined by Jon Gordon in his blog and it is so very true. It is not possible to be happy with a frown on the face.

Fifth Tip is music. Music is a universal language. Some very interesting studies have been done with the effect that music has on the human brain. Play the kind of music that makes you want to move and then do it. Move with wild abandon. Remember that with movement there is a rise in energy.

Last Tip is to meditate. Meditating conjures up all kinds of images of contorted positions and demanding thoughts to vanish which in itself is thinking. But if you sit quietly, especially when you have that feeling of unhappiness; close your eyes and simply focus on your breath. Count as the air goes into your lungs and also as it comes out. Do this for ten minutes, no more. At first you can set a timer and you will be amazed how quickly you relax. Relaxing is one of the easiest steps that lead to a state of happiness.

 

Originally published January 2011

Send Smiling Energy—As Easy As 1, 2, 3, and 4

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.”
Phyllis Diller

In the heat of a Hong Kong summer, between bites of lotus root, sticky tofu, and congee, I met Taoist master Daniel Li Ox. Expecting a slight Chinese man with a long, gray beard, mustache, black sweatpants, and black shoes of the Toms® variety, I was surprised to stumble upon a well-built, broad-shouldered, blonde Australian bloke who lives most of his time in Bali. We were both in Hong Kong instructing at a yoga conference when he taught me one of the most potent, simple tools to cultivate immediate joy and stress-relief.

What to do when you’re annoyed, irritated, disappointed, or frustrated with what’s happening in your life? Send “smiling energy.”

This short, sweet practice helps train your mind to immediately switch gears—not only moving into acceptance, but sending Smiling Energy to everyone and everything in your path.

4 Quick Steps to Send Smiling Energy and Lighten Up

The anatomy of our breath is a perfect harmony of YIN and YANG. Slowing down the breath stretches our brainwaves and the space between thoughts to create a more alpha state.

Inhale symbolizes the feminine, receptive current, and the exhale equals the masculine, active energy.

1. Deepen Your Breath

(Try it now: three deep breaths in and out through your nose.)

A mental shape-shift is as easy as focusing on your breath. Deepen your breath, and it naturally calms the nervous system, moving you out of the habitual fight or flight stress response of the sympathetic nervous system and into the relaxation response of the para-sympathetic nervous system.

2. Inhale = Unconditional Acceptance

Now as you inhale, focus on unconditional acceptance.

Breathing in, literally receive the molecules of the present moment. Allow your body to soften and take in this very moment—as it is, right here, right now. Literally receive all of the circumstances, sensations, fragrances, and people of the present moment. Notice how you feel without needing anything to change.

With unconditional acceptance of exactly what is, we surrender our desire to control, understand, or change anything that is happening. Simply, it just is what it is. Imagine a warm, ocean breeze washing through you.

3. Exhale = Unconditional Love

As you exhale, focus on unconditional love.

When we exhale, we send our molecules back out to the moment.

Unconditional means that no matter who or what it is or how they are acting, you send love. Imagine sending a wave of love rippling out in every direction. You not only allow things to be as they are, you practice loving it. Not pretending to love it, but sincerely appreciating and wishing the best for (even if you don’t understand) everything. Flex the muscle of the heart! Silently radiate love to everything and everyone around you.

4. Send Smiling Energy

While radiating unconditional love, send smiling energy. Literally put a smile on you face (you probably feel better already) and send the energy it creates out into the universe.

Every moment of the day, wherever you are, practice permeating smiling energy. Through your bones, your organs, the expression on your face, tone of your voice, and quality of your movement, send a smile.

Added Bonus: this will light you up just as much as (and probably more than) the people and things you are smiling at!

Imagine your breath like liquid light. Envision the warmth and gentle, affirming uplift of a sincere smile. Let your whole body, mind, and heart smile. Then, share it.

Enjoy! And please leave a comment below to let us know what shifts you see in your life from sending smiling energy.

Love (and smiles),

Ashley


Elevating personal growth as a lifestyle, Ashley Turner, M.A., brings a fresh approach to yoga as a modern-day psychotherapist with a soulful bent on celebrating the body’s wisdom and inner spirit. Ashley is the co-author of Aroma Yoga®: Using Essential Oils in Yoga + Life and creator of four best-selling yoga DVDs. She leads monthly, weekend retreats at Montage in Laguna Beach, CA, as well as retreats and workshops around the globe. For more on her and her events, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Join Ashley: YOGA TANGO RETREAT in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 28 – Nov. 2 and URBAN PRIESTESS – Empowering the Feminine at Kripalu in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Nov 23 25.

*Photo by entrelec.

Going the Extra Smile: Project Connects World Through Grins *VIDEO*

“I don’t know what I can do to help others,” is a response I often hear when people have been inspired by GoInspireGo stories, but do not understand their individual power.

Sometimes I simply quote from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, “You’ve always had the power … (to go back to Kansas),” said Glinda the good witch.

This simple reinforcing quote applies to all of us. We’ve always had the power to live better, be better and then do better for others.

For everyone who has ever asked me (or yourself) or doubted the ability to make a positive impact – no matter what socioeconomic background, gender, creed – just watch this video…and meet Claire Lemmel, someone who instantly puts a smile on your face and who has discovered the true meaning of Joy. Smile…

You’re probably grinning from ear to ear after watching this video. That’s good because if you are, it’s already benefitting your health. Many studies, including one from the University of California, Berkeley shows that simply smiling boosts the immune system, increases positive affect, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, enhances other people’s perception of you – plus it’s easy, fun and contagious.

According to Positive Psychology News Daily: “The eyes and lips are a powerful weapon that everyone is equipped with at birth. When used for good, this weapon can exert a significant amount of health and happiness on the smiler and recipient. So become the center of a positive change ripple. Squeeze your zigomatic major, squint your orbicularis oculi, and if you really want to get things flowing … expose your teeth.” So share this video with your frowny friends, smile with “what yo’ momma gave you.”

Photo Courtesy: William Wong

I believe I’ve found one answer to the common question, “I don’t know how I can help others. What can I do?” Witness Claire’s joy and listen to Glinda. And simply start smiling. Discover your own yellow brick road and think about what you can do to make someone smile today. Onward!

For more information about Claire’s Connect project:

ClaireLemmel.com

*Special Thanks: Megan Wegmann for your amazing energy & help with the Videography

Find Something To Smile About

 Wednesday, 7/26

“Find something to smile about and give that smile to the world today.  The world around you is in a reconstruction process; to help this phase of great change go more smoothly, spread your light.  Do this whenever you can, wherever you can.  You are an integral part of the shifting and you can do your part to bring lightness of being.  The people you encounter when smiling will be uplifted; they can then uplift others.”

–Selacia, The Council of 12

Steve Farrell

Humanity’s Team World Wide Coordinating Director

 

Smile Power

 Apparently when I was a little girl, I didn’t smile very much.  People would ask what was wrong with me. Believing I had so much to be happy about, they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t smiling more.  But, I continued to be the child who sat quietly, curiously observing the world, perhaps gathering stories that might become future articles like this one. 

Then as a young teen I was given the unflattering nickname, by some mean spirited classmate, of “Bucky Beaver”.  I’m sure you can guess what that related to.  There was good news and bad news here.  The bad news was that a well-meaning dentist (maybe) told my parents that unless I had full top braces soon, I would forever have my Bucky Beaver smile.  The good news….my parents couldn’t afford the braces and I was left to see what nature would do without any outside help.  Lucky for me that my teeth had a mind of their own and I ended up with a smile that I’ve often been told “was sure to break many hearts”.  I prefer to think that I haven’t done that.

 Now I find myself making up for lost time, smiling for no reason and I often notice that very few people smile “just because”.  The majority of people that I observe, walk through their days with serious expressions plastered on their faces.  In a recent conversation with my good friend Nealon Hightower, the subject of the power of smiling came up.  He related his own experience, telling me that in his journey to release 100 pounds of body fat, he noticed that when he would exercise, those around him had the most intense grimaces on their faces, as they went about their exercise routines.  He decided to try smiling and actually found that his exercise program became almost effortless and he realized that those stressed faces might just be making the workouts of others challenging to stick with.  And, he found that just by smiling often his hunger would go away. I believe he was on to something here.

After this conversation I started seeing references to the power of the smile everywhere I looked.  I did my own research and found that this simple act, that is free for all of us to do every minute of every day, has some very strong scientific evidence proving how smiling has a myriad of benefits not only for us, but for others as well.

Smiling is like music, a universal way of communicating.  There is very little explanation needed to understand what a smile means.  Paul Ekman, the world’s leading expert on facial expression, discovered that smiles have the same meaning across all cultures, languages, and even time.

On a Ted.com talk by Ron Gutman, I was happy to hear him reveal that many of us do in fact, smile fairly frequently.  More than 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day and less than 14% smile less than 5 times a day.  Those who smile the most, no surprise here, are children who smile as many as 400 times a day.  We are actually born smiling, as 3-D ultrasound technology now can show that developing babies appear to even be smiling in the womb.  Great way to come into the world.  

Gutman’s own experience, like Nealon’s, showed him that the addition of smiling to his long distance running protocol, made a huge positive difference for him, leading him to then do extensive investigation into what he calls the “untapped power of smiling”.  He found scientific studies that offered very interesting findings.  One that I also found quite intriguing, was the UC Berkeley 30-year study that examined the smiles of students from an old yearbook.  The study measured their well-being and success throughout their lives.  Those with the widest smiles ranked highest in predicting, how fulfilling and long lasting their marriages would be, how highly they would score on standardized tests of well-being and general happiness and how inspiring they would be to others. I guess I should check if I was smiling in my yearbook pictures…

For all the baseball lovers, a 2010 Wayne State University research project looked at the baseball card photos of Major League players in 1952.  They found that the span of a player’s smile could predict the span of his life.  Players who didn’t smile in their pictures lived an average of only 72.9 years, while players with wide beaming smiles lived 79.9 years on average.

Being around someone who smiles can be contagious.  Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that not even chocolate can match.  It has been reported that it would take 2,000 chocolate bars to provide the same level of brain stimulation as one smile!  Wow, glad I practice smiling, as I don’t even like chocolate.  

Smiling can actually make you healthier, too.  Among the numerous benefits of smiling are the therapeutic effects of reducing stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine), and increasing health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins) and lowering blood pressure.

Psychologically, smiling has many positive benefits too.  When we smile, we appear more likable and polite and we’re also perceived to be more competent and dependable.  And, it is actually easier to smile than to frown.  A smile only takes seventeen facial muscles but a frown, needs forty-three.  Smiling makes us look younger and more attractive too.  Remember that your smile has to be genuine, from your heart, because the human brain is biologically programmed to spot a fake one.   A spontaneous and authentic smile has to have some wrinklage around the eyes.  As the saying goes….keep it real.

 A great story a friend just told me related to her friend who was going to a high school reunion and was anxious, yet nervous, about reconnecting with a long lost boyfriend.  Seems he was wanting to connect with her too, and the moment of recognition happened when they smiled.  They knew each other by their smiles, even after all the years.

When I first heard about Operation Smile, I was very touched by the work they do with many of the 200,000 children born with severe cleft conditions each year.  These children often are unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile, so this charitable organization offers surgery that “heals children’s smiles”.  The joy I witnessed on the face of a child who after having surgery, can now smile, was very inspiring and made me wonder why those of us who have the option to smile whenever we chose to, often do not.

Personally, it makes me realize how happy I am to have found the power of smiling in my life and I keep making up for any time lost from my youth.   Smiling is powerful, so pass one on.  Keep smiling and remember the words Louis Armstrong sang… “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you”.

Are you smiling yet?  I’d love to hear what it is that makes you smile!

 

Be In Joy

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 5/13

 

Be in Joy

 

“Joy is the elixir for all things. Bring more joy into your tasks. When you radiate a vibration of joy, however mild, there is a shift in response within your body that is reflected in the response of your reality.

 

It can be an easy as a smile on your face as you do one of your many tasks. This will create a different message to your body and you will shift the usual stress responses to your work and busyness into a more conscious relaxed state of mind/heart.” – Morning Messages by Peggy Black and the “team”.

 

Steve Farrell

Humanity’s Team World Wide Coordinating Director

 

Be In Joy

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, 5/13

 

Be in Joy

 

“Joy is the elixir for all things. Bring more joy into your tasks. When you radiate a vibration of joy, however mild, there is a shift in response within your body that is reflected in the response of your reality.

 

It can be an easy as a smile on your face as you do one of your many tasks. This will create a different message to your body and you will shift the usual stress responses to your work and busyness into a more conscious relaxed state of mind/heart.” – Morning Messages by Peggy Black and the “team”.

 

Steve Farrell

Humanity’s Team World Wide Coordinating Director

 

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