Daily Challenge: Smile!

One of the greatest – yet simplest – things you can do, right now, to improve your mood: smile.

Now, I’m a realist. I know it’s not possible to smile 24/7. Stuff happens, things get you down, and I imagine smiling THAT much would be enough to crush your jaw muscles pretty darn well.

smileBut that doesn’t mean we can’t smile a bit more, does it? I think that’s one thing that may be lacking in some of our lives. It goes along with happiness and positive thinking, but today’s challenge is to find things to smile about. Whether it’s just grabbing your favorite snack at lunch, or seeing your favorite person, or winning $1 million dollars on a lottery ticket (don’t I wish!), there are things to smile about in almost every day.

So today, smile! Smile at yourself in the mirror. Smile when you walk down the street, rather than looking down at your feet with a nonchalant look on your face. Smile at someone when you hold the door open for them (but please don’t be creepy, okay?) Smile when you hear a great song, when you smell your favorite food cooking, or when you walk into your favorite place.

I’m not sure how true the saying is, that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. But it has been proven that smiling IS good for your health; it helps lower your heart rate, reduces stress, increases productivity and will also help encourage OTHERS to smile, too. So not only are you spreading smiles to yourself, you’re helping spread the happiness to others. You’ll boost your immune system, kill pain and produce empathy. (For more benefits of smiling, check out this piece.)

It’s easy, it’s free and it takes such little effort, so today — just smile!

Daily Challenge: Self-Appreciation

Today’s daily challenge relates to self-appreciation. Sometimes, it’s easy for us to appreciate the people around us – but somehow, quite difficult for us to appreciate ourselves. We find it hard to accept compliments, but are quick to praise others for something we like about them.

We’re putting an end to that today. It’s time to appreciate ourselves. Throughout the course of the day, I want you to work on three lists for yourself.

The first list: things that you can do well. What are you good at? Whether it’s making a great pizza, knitting, skateboarding, or listening — everyone is good at something. Come up with 5 things (or more!)

The second list: good qualities about yourself. Slightly different from the first list. Are you kind, giving, generous, sweet, caring, courageous? List at least five positive adjectives you’d use to describe yourself.

The third list: things you want to improve at. While this is all about self-appreciation, it’s important to recognize that you’re not perfect; no one is. But being able to recognize your weaker points, flaws, or the parts of you/your life that you want to improve, will only help to make you an even stronger person.

Self-love is a beautiful thing, folks. Below are some of my favorite quotes on the subject:

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
 – Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself. – Steve Maraboli

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. – Oscar Wilde