LET’S DO BETTER
If we all had but one Christmas wish, what would that wish be? We could wish for some extraordinary, humanity driven cause, like the end of poverty and violence or the beginning of full employment and justice for everyone. While the aforementioned causes are seriously wish worthy, chances of their coming to fruition are unlikely. So, let’s stick with an accomplishable wish that could make our homes, workplaces, community, nation, and the whole world a better place.
This Christmas, let’s wish for a gift that both the giver and the recipient can enjoy. The wish is realistic and is plentiful. There are no barriers: race, age, sexual preference, religious affiliation and nationality are of no significance. Skill level and educational accomplishments have no importance. Let’s just wish for smiles; more of them, loads of them, this holiday season and all year.
Most of us have encountered an unkept, seemingly poverty stricken individual who asked, “can you spare me some change.” Responses frequently range from “get a job” or “get out of my face.” Some of us even go as far to speculate that the individual making the request, “only wants to buy some wine.” So what?. If the individual spent time trying to look unkept and down on his/her luck, even that effort deserves one dollar. Yet, the giving of the dollar is not as important as the giving of one’s compassion. A polite smile, coupled with a warm greeting, may be just what the person needs to face another day. And, just what the approached person needs to get his/her serotinin going to diminish feelings of depression.
How many times have we discontinued a friendship because the friend, toward us, exhibited some inappropriate behavior or made unacceptable comments? Perhaps, the initial reaction is to negatively approach the individual, with intentions of abolishing the relationship. Do we really want to lose years of friendship because of a few hours of outrageous behavior? Again , a smile, combined with understanding why a friend resorted to such behavior, can mend broken hearts. Ronald Riggins, Ph.D., and a contributing “Psychology Today” author, said, “Each time you smile, the recipient’s brain says return the favor.”
Where ever people gather, emotional pain, sadness, and feelings of abandonment and hopelessness is in the mix. Life is just that way. We have learned how to hide our hurt and accept the unconcern from people we encounter. Natural disasters, violence, poverty, financial crisis, and death from a variety of causes affect all of us. Other problems, not as dramatic as the aforementioned issues, occur daily. These heartbreaking events block our view from some of the simple, neglected deeds that can make a difference. That glowing smile is sometimes a “difference maker” for an individual.
Researchers conclude smiling releases neuropeptides in our brains that work toward fighting stress. The “feel good” neurotransmitters; dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are all released when smiles flash across our faces. People view us more positively when we smile. A Scotland study revealed people who make eye contact and smile were deemed more attractive that those who did not. Riggins said, “There is magic in a smile.” He believes smiles given to the right people and the right time could influence the choices they make.
Let’s give more smiling a try, after all, there is no cost and effort is minimal; more muscles are needed to frown.
A poem by an unknown author clearly shows the significance of a smile. “Smiling is infectious, you can catch it like the flu. When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too. I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin; when he smiled, I realized, I’d passed it on to him. I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth. A single smile, just like mine, could travel round the earth. So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected. Let’s start an epidemic quick and get the world infected. “
Smiles won’t change deplorable economic, violence, and poverty issues, but smiles can change how you deal with these problems. Happy Holidays.