Whenever someone I love passes, I have a practice that helps me deal with the grief. I identify one admirable characteristic they are known for and commit to emulate it.
Last week, one of my best friends died. Honey was my loyal and lovable 14-year-old golden retriever. She was also a smiler. So, as I cry because I miss Honey, I’m also smiling more — to honor her.
Smiling is easy when you’re feeling good and things are going your way. But smiling can also be one of those “fake it till you make it” exercises to do when you’re sad or angry or anxious. The global spiritual leader and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
According to Psychology Today, “Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress. The feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. The endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever. Finally, the serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant.” Smiling is also scientifically proven to be contagious! Just 20 seconds of intentional smiling can begin to lighten your mood and brighten your perspective.
What are the attributes you admire most about others, whether they are living or deceased? Which ones can you choose to emulate, in honor of them and to enhance your own life? Please share your comments here.