Hi, Welcome to this weeks blog.
This week I want to look at how we handled the lock down differently and what was best for you. When this all started. a lot of people went crazy, stockpiling toilet rolls, soap (what were you using before this happened?) and pasta. It all got a little mad and very selfish. Then as the weeks went on many realised that there was no need to stockpile and a sense of normality started to return, but not for all.
Stupidity was still infecting people. families who didn’t think the rules applied to them, and because of their actions this lock down has most probably continued longer than it needed to, had we all obeyed the rules.
So how did you handle it? What have you been doing as a family or alone that has got you through this period? Is there anything that you will continue to do once the restrictions have been lifted?
What did I do? Well I work in a very serious business dealing each day with many different issues, but I made a decision to get through this with humour. I took off my professional head each day just for an hour or two and I posted funny pictures, jokes and videos. I wanted to make people smile. I didn’t want to remind them that things were tough, or that they were feeling anxious. I wanted to make them happy and just for a moment forget about what was happening outside.
So why did I take this approach?
Many see smiling simply as an involuntary response to things that bring you joy or laughter. While this observation is certainly true, what most people overlook is that smiling can be just as much a voluntary response as a conscious and powerful choice.
Countless scientific studies have confirmed that a genuine smile is generally considered attractive to others around us. Other studies have shed light on how the act of smiling can elevate your mood and the mood of those around you. Still. others have found a strong link between good health, longevity, and smiling. Most importantly, studies have shown that just the act of smiling (making the physical facial shapes and movements), whether the result of real joy or an act, can have both short- and long-term benefits on people’s health and wellbeing.
Still not convinced? Here are the top 10 reasons you should make a conscious effort to smile every day.
Smiling Makes Us Attractive
We are naturally drawn to people who smile. There is a real physical attraction factor linked to the act of smiling.
Not surprisingly, more severe or negative facial expressions like frowns, scowls, and grimaces actually work in the opposite manner, effectively pushing people away. Instead, use the attraction power of your smile to draw people in.2
Smiling Relieves Stress
Stress can permeate our entire being, and can really show up in our faces. Smiling not only helps to prevent us from looking tired, worn down, and overwhelmed but can actually help reduce stress
Believe it or not, smiling can reduce stress even if you don’t feel like smiling or even know that you’re smiling! When you are stressed, take the time to put on a smile. You and those around you will reap the benefits.
Smiling Elevates Our Mood
Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance your mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you elevate your mood because the physical act of smiling actually activates neural messaging in your brain.
A simple smile can trigger the release of neural communication boosting neuropeptides as well as mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Think of smiling like a natural anti-depressant.
Smiling Is Contagious
How many smiles have been described as having the power to lighten up the room? While it is certainly a beautiful sentiment, it carries a hint of truth. Smiling not only has the power to elevate your mood, but it can also change the moods of others and make things happier.
The part of your brain that is responsible for your controlling the facial expression of smiling is an unconscious automatic response area. Meaning that smiling can be completely unconscious, particularly when it comes to our habit of mimicking another person’s smile. Yes, it is scientifically proven that smiles are “contagious!”
Smiling Boosts Your Immune System
Smiling can also boost your overall health. The act of smiling actually helps the human immune system to function more effectively. It is thought that when you smile, immune function improves because you are more relaxed (thanks to the release of certain neurotransmitters).
In addition to taking precautions like washing your hands, why not try to prevent the cold and flu by smiling?
Smiling Lowers Your Blood Pressure
When you smile, there is a measurable reduction in your blood pressure. Give it a try if you have a blood pressure monitor at home.
Sit for a few minutes, take a reading. Then smile for a minute and take another reading while still smiling. Do you notice a difference?
Smiling Makes Us Feel Good
Studies have shown that smiling releases endorphins, natural painkillers, and serotonin. Together these three neurotransmitters make us feel good from head to toe.
Not only do these natural chemicals elevate your mood, but they also relax your body and reduce physical pain. Smiling is a natural drug.
Smiling Makes You Look Younger
Not only can smiling make you more attractive it can also make you look more youthful. The muscles we use to smile also lift the face, making a person appear younger.
So instead of opting for a face lift, just try smiling your way through the day—you’ll look younger and feel better.
Smiling Makes You Seem Successful
Studies have shown that people who smile regularly appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and are more likely to be approached.
Try putting on a smile at meetings and business appointments. You might find that people react to you differently.
Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard, isn’t it?
Even when a smile feels unnatural or forced, it still sends the brain and ultimately the rest of our body the message that “Life is Good!” Stay away from depression, stress, and worry by smiling
Fake It Till You Make It
In other words, smiling can trick your brain into believing you’re happy which can then spur actual feelings of happiness. But it doesn’t end there. It has been shown “over and over again” that depression weakens your immune system, while happiness on the other hand has been shown to boost our body’s resistance.
What’s crazy is that just the physical act of smiling can make a difference in building your immunity. “When you smile, the brain sees the muscle [activity] and assumes that humor is happening.”
In a sense, the brain is a sucker for a grin. It doesn’t bother to sort out whether you’re smiling because you’re genuinely joyous, or because you’re just pretending.
Even forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower your heart rate, and there are plenty more studies out there to make you smile (or at least, serve as reference for why you should). Researchers at the University of Kansas published findings that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress and lower heart rate in tense situations; another study linked smiling to lower blood pressure, while yet another suggests that smiling leads to longevity
So that’s why I did what I did and am still doing. for the fuddy duddys that were saying I wasn’t being very professional. You are entitled to your opinion, but in my view I was helping people in the best way that I knew how.
If I have made you smile with one of my posts on Facebook or lifted your spirits even if only for a moment. Let me know.
Normal service will resume soon. In the meantime. keep smiling, stay safe and look after yourselces.
Until next week.
Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.