The Map: Smile Your Way Into an Incredible Year!!
Updated: January 10, 2011
Now, how did that make you feel? Better than you did before, right?
The simple act of smiling can truly help you make 2011 your best year yet. It’s true, smiling can transform your life from the inside out!
As I talk about in my new book, The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in Your Life, the power to change your reality comes from within. In the book, I guide you in an exploration of the inner-landscapes of your subconscious—the hidden patterns, shadow motivations, and past legacies that make up the Map of your life and shape your external reality. In my last blog, The Map: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, I shared some of my insight from the book and talked about how our minds are the key player in telling us where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. When we know where we are in any given moment, we tap into the powers of detachment and harness the incredible power of the present to shift our consciousness and create lasting change in our lives.
So, what does this have to do with smiling? Well, at any given moment, you can change your consciousness—your inner-landscape—with a smile, which in turn helps you shift your external reality. Smiling, even (and especially) when you don’t feel like it, sets off a positive domino effect in your life, and the more you do it, the more you shift your inner world and create real and lasting changes in your life. Smiling pushes us to move past the small stuff in life and into the realm of the big picture, where we connect with our intuition and the All That Is. A smile enables us to distance ourselves psychologically from whatever may be bogging us down. When we smile, we’re able to connect with the broader picture, focus on what really matters in our lives, and make better decisions. We invoke change from within and can better shape our destiny. In contrast, frowning and a foul mood keeps us stuck both within and in our outside world—we stay focused on our problems and let our wounded egos run the show. As a result, we remain disconnected from Spirit and our intuition and are more likely to make short-sighted decisions.
So, it’s time to turn those frowns upside down! Here are some of the most amazing benefits of smiling:
Smiling Boosts Your Mood: According to The British Dental Health Foundation, a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars! A study the foundation conducted showed the act of smiling to dramatically lifts your spirits. Indeed, it is a fact that smiling increases happiness in yourself and others, and improves your confidence. Smiling has been found to boost levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital part in regulating your mood, sleep, and appetite. So, the more you smile, the brighter your mood and the more you’re able to change your outside reality. Smiling enables you to feel instantly happy and attract more joy into your life. (And, who knows, since it feels like 2,000 chocolate bars, we may also end up losing unwanted pounds!)
Smiling More Helps You Create More Success: A review of 225 studies, involving 275,000 people, published in the Psychological Bulletin concluded that happy individuals (the people who are smiling!) are more likely to tackle new goals than unhappy people. According to the study, chronically happy people are, in general, more successful across many life domains than less happy people, and their happiness is, in large part, a consequence of their positive emotions, rather than vice versa. The researchers concluded that happiness, in many cases, leads to successful outcomes, rather than merely following from them.
Likewise, in another study, researches at the University of California were able to predict the future success (30 years down the road) of 21-year-old women just by looking at their photographs. The key was the intensity of the women’s smiles. The women who displayed more positive emotion were more likely to be married by 27, less likely to have remained single into middle adulthood and more likely to have satisfying marriages 30 years later. Wow!!!
Smiling Improves Your Health: Your body immediately releases endorphins, the neurotransmitter known as the natural painkillers, when you smile, even when you force that grin. This sudden change in mood helps you feel better and releases stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, endorphins are also released when laughing, exercise, frequent sex, eating chocolate, sunbathing, massages, meditation, dancing, singing and listening to music to just about anything that leaves a smile on your face!
Studies have also shown a clear link between optimism and good health. People who are optimistic (and once again, these are the people who are out there smiling!) have more robust immune systems and are actually able to fight off illness better than pessimists. This isn’t just a generalization—it’s been proven! Smiling also lowers your blood pressure and reduces stress and anxiety.
And, as if all those benefits weren’t enough, smiling actually helps you live longer. According to a study published in the November 2004 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, elderly optimistic people, those who expected good things to happen, were 55 percent less likely to die than pessimists.
Smiling Brings Joy to the People Around You… and Draws More People to You: When you smile, you have a more positive effect on your environment, and you’re better received by others. Your smile can lighten a room and boost the moods of the people around you. Seeing a smile creates a ‘halo’ effect, helping those who witness your grin to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive, and more motivated. What’s even better is that the more you smile, the more others will too. And, smiling draws more people to you—it’s the ultimate attraction tool! And, it makes you look and feel younger!
Take another moment to smile, but this time close your eyes and imagine a landscape as you smile. Be sure to make it your best grin! What does this place look like? Describe it in your journal. Now, you’ve permanently marked this spot on your inner map and can go to whenever you want, regardless of what’s happening in your life. All you have to do is picture this landscape and you’ll be moved to turn your frown upside down and feel the happiness, optimism, and joy that accompany smiling.
To make this exercise even more powerful, make a picture of your landscape or search for a very similar image online or in a magazine. Then, put this picture in a place you’ll see it every day—perhaps tape it to your car visor, refrigerator, or bedroom mirror. Now, every time you see it, it will remind you to continue to reconnect with your inner landscape of smiling!
Here’s my example of this exercise:
As I smile, I find myself instantly transported into a beautiful garden, filled with all sorts of flowers making up every color of the rainbow. I walk past a bunch of glowing tulips as they sway happily in the breeze and find a big oak tree. The tree looks like he’s smiling. Haha! I decide to sit down next to his trunk to full take in my surroundings. I’m happy and at peace.
I’d love to hear what you think about this blog and smiling. Please share your comments with us!
In service and love,
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P.S. If you’d like to learn more about creating change from within, my new book, The Map: Finding the Magic and Meaning in Your Life, is now available for preorder here.