Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Your Secret Smile

Your Secret Smile

Smiling is one of the best things we can do for an instant “happiness boost”.  Think of it as a cup of joe for the soul.  Furthermore, when we smile we are also more likely to laugh.  If smiling is like a cup of coffee, then laughing is like an espresso for the soul.  It is near impossible to laugh and not be happy.

Unfortunately, you might get looked at a little strangely if you go around smiling all day.  For some reason, smiling isn’t normal.  A grimace is often more acceptable.  I have no idea why this is.

If you do walk around with a smile, or a smile for no apparent reason, you will probably get asked “why are you smiling?”  I’ve had this happen to me many times.  The first response that comes to minds comes from one of my favorite movie characters, Buddy the Elf, who says “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite!” Most people get the reference.
Or you can just wear a t-shirt with the saying on it! (Thanks for the Christmas present Sandi!)

However, a better response would be with the use of a rhetorical question “What is there not to smile about?”  Many people will easily go to problems with their jobs, family life, aches and pains, war, etc., forgetting their responsibility for their own lives, as well as for the apparent.  (Sitting here typing, I can easily think of many things to smile about:  I have use of all five fingers, I’m sitting in an air conditioned house, the sun is shining, I was just nourished with a huge power greens salad followed by a cup of tea and dark chocolate, I have a great family, and I had a beautiful trail run this morning with my dog who is currently sleeping on the back step.  I’ll stop there, but I could definitely keep the list going.)

If you’re like me, you may not care if you get some funny looks for smiling.  But if you are not so comfortable with it, I feel ya.  That takes some practice getting used to.  Luckily, you can always wear your “secret smile”.  There are two you can choose from (or use both!):

The first secret smile I will mention is your tongue.  I learned about this one when reading “How to Meditate” by Larry Terkel.   Simply relax your tongue, with the tip of your tongue touching your front upper teeth and the top of your tongue touching your upper palate, following the tongue back to your throat. For a little bit more, check out the second video on the link: http://larryterkel.com/videos.html .

The second secret smile is the one I am most attuned to.  I can thank Gaiam’s Aim True Yoga with Kathryn Budig for this one.  The DVD calls for many poses where we are told to open up our chests to the sky (thing of cobra or upward dog) and smile.  However, it wasn’t until I was cycling one day where I really got it.

I was trying to have good posture on my bike, keeping my back flat while not putting too much stress on my shoulders or neck.  While looking up at the views, I realized I was wearing two smiles.  One on my face, and one with my chest…my collarbone to be specific. 
Mile 65ish during my century ride at the Sweet Corn Challenge:
Using two of my smiles to get through some serious butt pain!
The “collarbone smile” has 2 great benefits.  It reminds you to have good posture (making it especially great when running or cycling) and makes you happier.  Yes, another mind/body connection!

I hope you get to wear your real smile (the one with your lips) out in public and share it with others as much as possible.  But if not (or your face starts to hurt), remember to use your secret smile.  It is sure to bring more happiness and positive energy your way!


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