It’s Simple. Just Smile!

It is worth repeating. These times are TOUGH! There is a perfect storm going on and a lot of us are having a really tough time moving through the storm. What kind of storm? We have Covid-19 Delta variant and social media. Combine those two, you have a deadly recipe. How can you survive with so many factors going against you? Everywhere you look just adds more stress to your body. I have 3 things you can do that has helped me throughout my life. Based on the title, you might have an idea what one of those things are.

Number 1: get your endorphins flowing. Take a walk around the neighborhood, apartment complex, backyard, where ever you can. Studies have proven exercise (even walking) can improve your outlook.

Number 2: as silly as some may think this is, write down your thoughts. Write down your negative thoughts and positive thoughts. President Lincoln, having a disagreement with his war secretary Stanton, told Stanton to write down what he would want from Lincoln. Once Stanton was done with his letter, Lincoln told him to throw it in the fire without even reading it. When asked why he wanted Stanton to write the letter knowing he was going to throw it out, Lincoln responded essentially that he always feels better when he writes out his frustrations.

Number 3: this one is simple. Just smile. Go in to a mirror and grin from ear to ear until you look so silly it makes you laugh. The act of smiling ties into releasing your endorphins. When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules that help combats stress.

Like most things in life, it takes time. Repetition repetition repetition. Don’t get too down on yourself. Always remember that life is a roller coaster. You will have your bad days and your good days. When in doubt, just smile.

Working on your mental game

“Be water, my friend.” This is the single best quote I have ever hear. If you haven’t heard the full quote from Bruce Lee, take a look here. Why is this so important? Your mental game is just as, if not more important than your physical mentality. It’s always great to eat right and get your exercise but working on your mind can change your whole life. Over 40% of adults have experienced some sort of mental health event during these 8 to 10 months of the pandemic. That is scary! Unfortunately, we have many factors to blame. Social Media and isolation are two big factors. The way I interpret Bruce Lee’s quote is that we need to adapt to our surroundings and situations. “Empty your mind. Be formless. Be Shapeless like water.”

One thing I have practiced since I got out of the military was self-talk. As silly as it sounds, I am my own hype-man. Every morning I tell myself, “today is going to be a great day.” “You are going to do great things.” “I dare you to be sub-standard.” That one is a personal favorite. My old military training instructor would always say this. Bad things would come if we are sub-standard. The more I practice this, the more my subconscious believe it. I am essentially tricking myself into having a great day even if it isn’t on the outside. Next time you are in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eyes and just smile. Smile nice and big. Smile so big it makes you laugh on how ridiculous you look. The motion of smiling releases those important happy endorphins your body needs. I think we can all use some happy endorphins this year.