Stop. Smile, no, really smile…it’s good for you!

Stress. We all deal with it on a daily basis, and sometimes it can really overwhelm us. It can make a mountain out of a molehill sized issue, it can cause us to feel run-down or tired, to be terse with others, and make us generally just feel bad. It can affect our job performance and interpersonal relationships.It can pull the joy out of us faster than watching any movie nominated for The Razzies. The good news is that there are things we can do to lessen the impact that stress has on us. Elizabeth Scott, M.S. from About.com recommends following these seven habits to turn any bad day around.

  • Talk to someone you trust and who will encourage you. Someone who will listen and support you in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
  • Do a random act of kindness with no expectation of reciprocation.
  • Take a 10 minute break. Meditate, relax, just breathe.
  • Think about all the things you have to be thankful for in your life. Try to internalize those happy thoughts.
  • Blow off steam through an activity you enjoy. Take a walk, go hiking, play foosball, or any activity that gets you excited and moving.
  • Chocolate. Not the entire box, just 1 ounce of dark chocolate actually releases endorphins that elevate your mood naturally.
  • Decide to look at the day as though it is a challenge rather than a horrible day. Try to beat it.

I also find that when I’m having a bad day I like watching a comedic movie, listening to funny radio programs, or upbeat music makes me feel better. I try to smile even when it seems like it might be an impossibility. It’s clinically proven that when you smile it actually helps you feel better, it relaxes the muscles on your face and reduces your stress level. I try to think of (now funny, but not when it happened) situations that seemed horrible, but ended up teaching me a lesson or made me laugh(eventually). Once when my youngest son was three, I had taken him on a two-mile walk in his Cadillac sized stroller. It’s a monster, a beast. The sky was clear and sunny, so I wore a light jacket. Now we get to the fun parts-I forgot my cell phone and wallet. We got a mile into the walk and my back tire went flat. Then, it literally started to rain. LITERALLY!!! At this point I am almost in tears. I beg two quarters from a gas station attendant to make a phone call. My husband isn’t answering. I call my mom and she has to leave work to come pick us up. Absolutely horrid day. When I got in her car I started crying. Then I started laughing at the thought of the absolutely perfect chain of events that totally hosed me. I mean really?? All that and rain? Now, when I think about that story I laugh about it. It was a really bad day, but there is something to be learned from the bad days (besides remembering your wallet and cell phone) you have to minimalize the not-so-fun parts and remember that it is just one day. It’s not everyday, it’s not most days. I can make it through because I am a strong person, and today may suck, but as Scarlett O’Hara said in Gone With The Wind “Tomorrow is another Day”.

Make it count.

As always, I welcome feedback from my readers and hope to hear from you! Do you have a site that you find helpful? Do you have a blog or website that you follow and would like to recommend to others? Let’s build our online community!

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