Got Happy Face?

Want to turn that frown upside down?

If you are not smiling, you are probably not having fun. Sometimes we simply need to be intentional about our happiness. When I realize that I am in a funk, sometimes I just need to take a break from what I am doing, and do something different. There are some activities that, just by doing them, will trigger an inner happiness that puts a smile on my face. Smiling alone makes me feel happy, as it releases endorphins, which also reduces my stress levels and helps me be more positive and productive. Below is a list of some of the ways I’m able to intentionally put a smile on my face.

Here’s how:

By… watching super cute animal videos… especially the goats and puppies.

By… chatting with your bestest “estefriend” (two or more friends who are fans of Gloria Estefan are considered EsteFriends.)

By… listening to your favorite song (or have yourself a little jam session). EsteFriends get happy listening to “I Just Wanna Be Happy.”

By… making a list of everything you are grateful for in your life.

By… watching Big Bang Theory (or your favorite sitcom).

By… performing a random act of kindness (paying it forward).

By… cuddling with a friend’s baby.

By… stopping to smell the roses. (Just make sure there are no bees first – they don’t make me smile!)

By… going outside to play with your dog.

By… getting outside to your favorite nature spot (the mountains, the beach, a park).

Help us help others with your smiley ideas.

Got Laughter?

Life is boring without it!
OR… so, when your face actually does freeze, you won’t be frowning.

Here’s why you need laughter:

Because… laughing makes all (ok most) situations better.

Did you ever trip over the curb and break your arm? Although it was painful, your friends giving a little laugh at your expense made it slightly less painful (don’t try it, just trust me). And even if your friends laughing at you with your broken arm doesn’t really make you feel better in the moment, the pain meds will make you laugh, and after a year or two, all of you will indeed laugh when the story gets retold a gazillion times!

Because… it helps form connections with others.

Do you find yourself drawn to the friend at the party being Sulky Sally or Laughing Larry. Of course it’s Larry! Laughter draws us in and gives us a connection to that other person because that person has to be fun (at least more fun than Sulky Sally). Seriously, who wakes up in the morning and says, “I think I will be Sulky Sally today.” Everyone wants to be Laughing Larry (or Lori).

Because… laughter is contagious.

Have you ever walked in the room AFTER the joke was told, but everyone is laughing so hard, you just laugh at them and the ridiculous snorts and convulsions going on? Well, there you are… it’s contagious.

Because… it has several health benefits.

When you laugh it helps to decrease stress levels. It also helps to lower blood pressure and can improve sleep. This is based on personal experience, rather than scientific research. I have found that when I can find something to laugh about, I quickly forget whatever was weighing on my mind and causing some stress.

Because… it’s actually a form of exercise!

When you laugh, you engage muscles in your abdomen (and your cheeks) giving you a bit of a core workout. I’m not telling you to skip the gym, but if you get a good laughter workout in, you could probably have an extra cookie. If your cheeks hurt after you laugh with your family and friends, then you need to exercise that muscle more often and get into shape. I’ve heard that M&Ms are calorie-free when shared with friends while laughing (again personal experience rather than scientific research)!

Because of the wonderful things it does (you know you are “laughing” and have that song from Wizard of Oz in your head right now!)

Share a time when someone picked up your mood by bringing some laughter to the situation.