Welcome! This site is an endeavor to spread an attitude of positive thinking and optimism. By searching for joy and beauty in all things - even the mundane, perhaps a smile will spread from my computer ... to you!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"If You Just.....Smile"

Yes – I know...it is rather obvious that I haven't been here of late, isn't it? I have a confession to make...I have not been in a very positive frame of mind.

The reasons why are really not important, and if I listed them here they would only come through as excuses for not putting any thoughts to pen ( or “computer!”) Suffice it to say that I have been dealing with the blues, feeling a little poorly due to health, and just generally suffering from the “winter doldrums.”

I've already told myself that it's normal to experience periods like this. For me, this is particularly true during the winter months, when I am forced to wait out the cold weather indoors, cloistered away from the sunshine and fresh air. We get a lot of rain here in the south during this time of year, but on “the bright side” it sure beats snow and ice!

Pulling ourselves out of any sort of depression can truly be a test of willpower and spirit. Most of us have and will continue to struggle with moments such as this throughout our lives and I would be lying (at this site devoted to positivity!) if I didn't admit that I, too, have moments of sadness and self-doubt. The trick is knowing when that sadness or a period of the blues is more than we can handle alone. If we find that changing our surroundings, eating habits, exercise routines, or other crucial needs aren't enough to break the cycle of darkness we're feeling, then it's time to seek outside help and assistance. Doesn't necessarily mean that you have to immediately enlist the aide of a licensed psychiatrist – it can start with a simple visit to your regular doctor, where they can help you decide if additional medical treatment is warranted.

I have continued to attend the aerobics class I began in January, and have discovered that I'm really starting to feel better after each class. Just the proper breathing – getting that oxygen to move throughout my body – is probably working wonders for me. (not to mention, I'm beginning to notice the tiniest little bit of room again in my jeans!)

Aside from the exercise and asking God daily to remind me that He's always by my side, I made another decision of self-help this morning - to smile. While I may not actually be using my facial muscles to form this expression on my face continuously (that would be impossible), I made a decision to try and “wear” my smile internally - even though I might not be feeling particularly happy at the moment.

It's worked.

Even though I felt that I was “pretending” to be cheerful (in the beginning), I found as the day moved on that because other people reacted so kindly to my attitude, that my attitude changed. I really began to feel better. I've attempted to practice this “theory” several times before in my life – and have noticed great results each time. However, today was the first time I made myself remain completely aware (all day) of what I was doing to extend a cheerful and positive front. Even though I definitely didn't feel like it when I first got up this morning, by the end of the day, I felt better.

By choosing to be cheerful and kind to those I met and worked with today, they reacted in kind. It transfers so easily: On my way in to work this morning, I was stopped at a particularly busy intersection, waiting to make a left-hand turn. Another driver, in on-coming traffic was also preparing to make a left-hand turn. Rather than continuing on, he stopped and flashed his lights at me in order to let me turn into traffic. As I passed in front of him I smiled and waved in thanks...and he smiled and waved back. Before I knew it, I really was in a much better mood and state of mind. Even at our low moments we have a choice – an opportunity – to be happy.

Thinking back over my day of changing outlooks, a particular song popped into my head (which often happens to me....tunes are forever “popping” into my head!). This piece was written in 1936 as a theme song for a now-famous silent movie. Not too much information is available on exactly how the composer was feeling when these words and music flowed from his heart, but the lyrics are still timeless, and pretty much sum up those sentiments I've shared with you today:

Smile, though your heart is aching,
Smile, even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky-
You'll get by.

If you smile through your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through
For you.

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev'ry trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near,
That's the time you must keep on trying,

Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile,
If you just smile.


- music & lyrics attributed to Charlie Chaplin

1936 - "Modern Times"

Sometimes, a little smile is all it takes – to not only lift the spirits of those around us, but to lift ourselves from an otherwise dark and lonely place.

I hope the smile I found today makes it's way to you!

Pay it forward - spread a smile!

Image courtesy of Comments Yard.com

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