10 simple ways to put the smile back on your face
Tried and tested methods to help you on your road to happiness.
BY: Savitri Iyer (with some happy words by Abhijit Rajan)
I read somewhere that Malta is one of the happiest places on Earth and recently when I went there, I was able to experience it first-hand when I saw the smiling, helpful faces around me. Even though the country has a past that was peppered with wars and hardship, the people remain happy, cheerful and full of life.
This got me thinking – how does one make happiness a way of life?
We all know that having a positive attitude brings us good health, better relationships and ultimately, happier lives. However, when we are being knocked down again and again by events in our lives, how can we pick ourselves up? Forget the self-help books, vast discourses and free advice; we need at least a few simple ways to keep it up.
So, I am going to share a few that I have tried and found useful:
1. Always finish what you’ve started. There’s a nephew of mine who says he’s benefited a great deal from this advice. This one’s for him.
2. Know that for every 10 bad thoughts, you have a single good one that can make them all disappear. Not convinced? Try this exercise: Every day, find one thought/thing that makes you smile – a moment of grace, forgiveness, service, a laugh … anything. In other words, count your blessings.
3. In fact, write a journal of all the things that happened to you during the day. Try doing this in a happy place, like on this website – www.hapyr.com. I’ve been checking in daily for about two months and it has brought me this far! My guess is, in a few months, I won’t have to write any more. But hey, I’m going to write anyway. Happiness can be addictive, right?
4. Say a little prayer. It doesn’t matter what religion you follow, prayers can be powerful. Of course, if you are not so religiously inclined, you could try an affirmation to keep your spirits up. My favourite is ‘Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better’.
5. Always be gentle and kind to yourself. If we learn to love ourselves, others will learn to love us too.
6. Find a ritual. Whenever I hear disturbing news, if I am at home, I go straight to the kitchen and do the dishes! Even if there are none in the sink, I pull out some from the cupboard and polish them to perfection! I find it very therapeutic. Some people do crossword puzzles, some do Sudoku, some play board games, some listen to music, some dance, some immerse themselves in work … what is your ritual?
7. Look for surprises. Looking for happiness doesn’t always get you happiness, but you have to be willing to be surprised. That is why, I am truly grateful for the day I came across Bach flower remedies. It is a natural, simple and effective method to banish the blues, to get over your miniscule or major fears, and to bring a sense of calmness from within. When all else fails, I turn to flower remedies to regain my emotional balance. What have I got to lose, right?
8. Smile all over. Physical exercise, people say, releases the ‘feel good’ juices in our body. Which is why, when kids run around and play they look like they’re smiling all over, and not just on their faces. So jump, skip, dance and run! Just remember to smile all over.
9. Slow down. Experts say yoga and meditation give you balance. I tried it and I found it very calming and enlightening. Go some place real in your mind without moving a muscle. Sadly, doing this takes a bit of training and practice. There are too many places that need our attention. What to do?
10. Close your eyes and count to 10. Yes. These 10 pointers sure work for me, but they may not work for you just as well. I want you to find your own 10 ways to start smiling. Why 10 ways? Because one is too easy and 20 is too much work.
Now, smile like you’re the Mayor of Malta.
Savitri Iyer is passionate about helping people to help themselves. As such, she has done a lot of research and studies on self-help techniques and readily shares them at forums. She is also a UK-certified Bach flower remedy practitioner.
(* PHOTO CREDIT: Smiling muffin, phostezel, stock.xchng)