Choose happy, eh?
It sounds so, “happy smack”. I have often rolled my eyes at such seemingly shallow sentiments.
But here’s the thing… I’ve been experimenting.
As one who is generally closer to caving to dark thinking than positive thinking (it really is true)… I am convinced the more positive and hopeful I force my mind to be, the more positive and hopeful my mind becomes.
Good and bad happen and if my mind is trained to lean happy, then even better when times of struggle hit.
That’s what I think.
I’m no scientist.
Nor am I a psychologist.
Basically… what I am saying is – I PLAY MIND GAMES WITH MYSELF.
Sometimes I whisper *happy* reminders to myself (For example, “Smile, Jenny.” or “This errand is for someone you love – how lucky are you to have so many people in your life that you LOVE?!”). Sometimes I talk with God. Sometimes I add color where I might have chosen something plain that would easily match life or wardrobe, but not be nearly as fun. Sometimes I write or walk or listen to upbeat music. Sometimes I wear a graphic tee that I am probably too old for.
They are so awesome.
I digress. Ish.
Other ways I help my brain are… I rarely watch crime dramas and/or the news. I never watch horror. I am a sucker for goofy comedy, and as tacky as it sounds… I love me a good/standard issue Hallmark Channel movie. If you are what you eat, then couldn’t you also be what you watch and listen to? I just know that if I allow darker content access to my mind, I start slipping. Not everyone is like that. But I am. Knowledge is power. Once I discovered that about me and made some changes – the long term impact has helped my mind so much.
I think about Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” What I fill my brain with affects my brain, and therefore my heart.
It’s not just about relationships and interactions with others. It’s also about one’s relationship with oneself.
Whether it’s Proverbs 17:22 or science… Angry, bitter, or simply generally discontent people suck to be around. They suck the life out of others and they suck the life out of themselves.
Several years ago I came across this Ted Talk by Ron Gutman: The Hidden Power of Smiling (view here) – and is the very reason why part of my self-speak includes, “Smile, Jenny.”
I hope you make the 7-ish minutes to watch.
When I think of smiling, I think of how it is something we do for others, but acroding to what Ron shared, “One smile can can generate the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2000 bars of chocolate.”
Sure. Giving a smile is great for others, but it has even better return for the smiler. Not only can smiling help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol… it makes you more attractive to others.
Not that I care what others think of me…
But I do.
Hitherhencetofore: Choose Happy. See also: SMILE!
Sharing the pursuit of joy and kindness and thinking of others with YOU is a big, BIG influence on me. I feel a sense of accountability and responsibility. It helps prevent happiness apathy, if you will. It reminds me to put on a smile even more often, which is basically like $25,000 in my pocket each time. SO THANK YOU.
Speaking of accountability, I was not so joyful or kind at Costco yesterday afternoon. I do not appreciate the sauntering pace of the shopping public.
I should appreciate it.
But I do not.
So when I am shopping and get stuck behind people who appear to have nothing to do but hang out in Costco – it is one of the larger tests of my character, a sure test of my ability to smile, and my resolve to be kind to others is torched by the hottest of fires.
Also, I am the mother of 2 teens, but I am not ready to talk about those fires that test my character. Just pray for me. And my teens. The feeling of happiness and the ease of smiling has been put to the test these last number of weeks. Months, really. Someday maybe I can write a book. But right now we are in the thick of it and the struggle is not yet my story to share.
In the mean time, we plod onward… to joy and happiness. Each smile and kindness toward another is a worthy and hard-earned step. Yes?