Monday, February 1, 2021

What Makes You Smile?

 The Power of Smiling

As a blogger, smiling a lot is something I do.  Everyone seems to expect it when you are doing fashion styling although fashion styling is only a small part of my lifestyle blog. Look at any clothing catalog or fashion blog and most models look really happy to be wearing what they're wearing and are having all manner of fun while they're at it. I have found, though, that smiling on cue is not so easy. If I don't feel like I look good or I'm not in a good mood or having one of "those" days, the smiles just don't come so easily. 

I've been doing some reading lately in a book about mindfulness and one part of the book was about how we, as children, learn to relate to other human beings and get our needs cared for. The author of the book told this story of a women who was travelling by train and boarded the coach in a horrible mood. She had experienced a really rough day and just wanted to get home. But, seated next to her was a husband and wife and their baby. The baby managed to get the woman's eye contact and smiled at her. The woman really didn't want to be bothered and glanced away at other areas of the coach and then back at the couple and found the baby was still maintaining eye contact and smiling at her. It was so compelling that the lady smiled back at the baby and then the young couple joined in with the smiling and the woman suddenly realized that she felt much better. She wasn't feeling as stressed as she previously had been. The baby then began smiling at other people on the coach and the whole mood of the area lightened. All because of the sweet smile of a precious baby! This baby was learning how to interact with other human beings and had already discovered that when she smiled at others there was a reaction and her needs could be met. Sometimes, it was just a smile back. But other times, she received a basic need. Especially, when her smiling interacted with her doting parents! But, the needs of the disgruntled woman were also met that day and she found that her need to be in a better mood was met because of a child's smile.

Smiles can have power. I remember years ago being called to jury duty. I had been called several times previously but had not needed to go. This time, my number was called and I had to make my way to the courthouse. As luck would have it, the day started out with snow and I was not in a very good mood as I drove downtown. The schools were called off for the day and yet I still had to go out and drive which I never wanted to do in snow! I found a parking spot and entered the building and made my way to where the jurors convened only to find that the lady who was supposed to check us in wasn't there yet guessed it....she couldn't get in due to the snow! Finally, after about an hour of waiting, the woman arrived and checked those of us in who had arrived in a timely manner and we settled into the waiting room to wait as she checked in others who were just getting there. I had brought a book to read and was half reading and half looking around when I saw a woman entering the room of similar age to mine who seemed as uncertain about being there as I felt and she was looking for a place to sit. I observed her for a few seconds and when our eyes locked I smiled at her. She smiled back, looked around a little more and then made her way over to where she sat down next to me. We greeted one another and made a little small talk about the weather. I somehow mentioned that I was a teacher and regretted having to come out on such a day as this and she shared that she was a recently retired teacher. What ensued was a long conversation about teaching as we waited and went through the day together being comrades in the jury waiting room. We even ended up having lunch together and talked some more and one thing she mentioned was that my smiling at her let her know that I was a friendly person to be around and she was glad we had met up that day. Neither of us was chosen for the jury and I couldn't even tell you her name now. But, I remember the experience of having a bad day turned into a good one just because I chose to smile at someone. You might say that, just like that little baby, both of our needs for the day were met. Yes, smiles have power. 

In a recent post, I shared about how music and books can touch our lives. Music and books also make me smile. How can you not smile when you hear a melody that is so beautiful it brings happy tears to your eyes or makes you want to dance? Or, when you laugh out loud at something you read that is so funny or that is something that you can relate to so much you can't help but smile? Last night I was reading in bed (something else that makes me smile) and had chosen a book of short stories by Rosamunde Pilcher called The Blue Bedroom. I find that I return to this book time and time again because it contains stories that are light in nature and make me feel good and relaxed which is just what I want at bedtime. As I read, I suddenly realized that I was smiling because the characters were so poignant and their experiences things that I could identify with and I felt happy. 

And then there are other things which make me smile like blogging. And even more so if I have a cat assistant curled up next to me. I find that I lose myself when I am creating on the computer with a new blog post. Finding the right words, searching for the correct phrasing, editing pictures, thinking about just the right word choice, it all spells happiness for me and can bring a smile. Yeah, I get frustrated on occasion, but mostly not. As you can see, Garden has been assisting me here of late. But, Cassie also likes to chime in from time to time with a furry opinion. 

How can you not smile when you see this sweet furry face with her head on her paws and sleepy eyes?! Yeah, I know, you can't!!  My fur babies make me smile every day. 

Did you know that there is a world smile day that happens every first Friday of October? I didn't. Now we all know. I have also read that smiling does really good things for our brains and that our brains release good things for our bodies that can even act in an anti-depressant type way and pain killer type way. So smiling is a really great thing for all of us to do on a daily basis. Even if we don't feel like it. Even if we have to force a smile just a bit. I know we have all heard that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile. So, let's all get smiling!

Tell me....what makes you smile?  Hope you will share in comments!

Until Next Time,



Tania said...

Hi, Debbie I rarely comment on blogs but just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy and look forward to yours. It has been especially uplifting during the pandemic when there is often little to smile about. Thank you for being there.

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you so much, Tania! That is so nice of you to leave such a lovely comment and share with me that you enjoy my blog. Means the world to me!!

Sharon said...

I also look forward to your blog posts, and they often make me smile! I agree that smiles are powerful. I will use this post to remind me that smiles are important even when I sometimes have to force them a bit during these challenging days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, book recommendation, and pictures of your beautiful fur babies.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the uplifting post. Your kitties sure made me smile.

Lay said...

I love this Debbie, and needed this reminder to be more conscious about smiling at Doug when at home and even behind my mask when at the grocery. I am realizing how the quarantine has impacted my practice of smiling!

Garden and Cassie are definite smile bringers, as us our sweet Maisy. Our fur babies add so much to life and we need the now more than ever!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful encouragement.

Karen said...

I love the jury duty story! That's exactly what I hope for when walking into a strange see someone similar in age who looks welcoming and understanding. I would have sat down beside you too! I always enjoy the thoughtfulness of your posts and the way you talk about real life things. And I do love seeing those sweet kitty faces!!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you sweet Sharon for your constancy in reading and commenting. I know you like Rosamunde Pilcher so I bet you will like the book!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you, Ruth, for reading and I am so happy that Cassie and Garden made you smile!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you, Lay, for your sweet comment. I hope you can find many reasons to smile each day and I know that Doug and Maisy are part of the reasons you smile!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thanks, Karen! That jury duty day was quite the day but it was made so much nicer by having someone to pal around with for the day! I hope you are doing well. We have snow right now and I feel quite hemmed in to the house. Take good care!

Iris said...

What makes me smile? Well, my furbabies almost always. And they're great companions. I've found some really old sitcoms on TV and have been watching those - usually there's a smile to be had in them. Guess we all need to smile more - thanks for the reminder.
Grace & Peace, Iris