The power of a smile

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

I’ve been really inspired lately by several stories about the simple power of a smile.

It’s natural to be drawn to people who smile.  We all want to know a smiling person – spend time with them, and enjoy their positivity.

The same as frowns, scowls and grimaces all push people away. a smile draws people in.

It’s also an act of generosity – sharing a moment with someone else, and brightening their day.

Which brings to mind a very strong memory for me.  Several years ago I went to my local temple for meditation classes and teachings on the dharma.  One day as I walked in, I came across a Nun sweeping.  She looked up and smiled at me, and I will never forget the beauty of her smile.

I have never before, or since, come across such a genuine, open, and loving smile.  She touched my life.

A couple of months ago I was very blessed to have come across this wonderful video:

Spreading Smiles on San Francisco Streets and Beyond

Meet Claire Lemmel and check out her inspiring mission to make strangers smile

Watching this video filled me with such warmth and hope – that there are people like this in the world who want to make others happy.  This is something that I very much aspire to do myself.

I watched the video early in March, and it has really stayed with me.

I was then lucky enough to read this great blog post:

Just smile

Imagine a world where we did our best to make other people feel better. I know that something as simple as a smile can brighten someones day, so I give them freely. I never run out, they replenish like magic.

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Both of these inspired me to start smiling more (in fact here is a *very bad* photo of me a friend snapped during a video call).

Smiling increases our ability to think holistically. Research has shown that people who smile perform better on tasks that required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.

So remember..

When you smile, you light up the room, change the moods of the people around you, and make everything happier.

Smile lots and you will draw people to you.

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Nurture your happiness

Some of my favourite tips for nurturing happiness, joy, delight and wonder ♥

 

Fake it till you make it – decide to be happy.  Smile, laugh often and have fun.  Sometimes actions come before feelings (instead of the other way around).  So in other words: act happy, and you will feel happy.

Smile – as Thich Nhat Hanh advises … wear a half smile always.Smile while listening to music, smile during your free moments, smile even when you are irritated.

Listen to upbeat music – my personal favourites:  walking on sunshine, somewhere over the rainbow, don’t worry be happy.  And my favourite place to listen to them – in the shower!  Nothing starts your day off on a positive note like listening to these songs while you have your morning shower.  

Laugh – because generally life itself is too absurd not to.  Even if you can’t about something now, chances are you will be able to at some point.  Really – sometimes all you can do is laugh.

and lastly…

Be grateful

Surround yourself with people who make you smile

Dream big, sing loudly, and dance like no-one is watching

 

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A proud parenting moment – the classroom work brought home by my 6yo.  Never fails to make me grin 🙂

Stop and smile

My post today – which is actually my first ever post 🙂 – is in response to a great blog post I just read.

“Life is full of good surprises”

The blog asked readers to share a good surprise that they have had lately.

My good surprise is discovering the inherent goodness in the people around me – friends, neighbours, people I chat to in the street.

You just have to stop for a moment and give yourself the opportunity to open up to people – and them to you.

Something as simple as a genuine smile given without expectation.

To give other people the gift of your attention – to listen them without judgement – is an amazing thing.

Much metta