#2, Smile at yourself in the mirror (before you go out)

Yay! This one is going to be much easier to explain.

If you just tuned in, I’m explaining #2 in my Personal Rules for happiness.

When I was young, I was afraid of most everything. Going to school was awful. I couldn’t wait until I could graduate and be done with it! I didn’t go to college because I was afraid of the oral reports I had heard my brothers talk about. That, and we kids had to pay for it ourselves. Somehow I mustered up the courage and debt to try nursing school, but one visit to the hospital cured me of that. Anyway, I was very fearful.

After high school, and a failed nursing attempt, I got a full time job as a secretary. I was terrified most every morning going to work. I would get up early enough to shower, have a morning quiet time, eat breakfast, get a stomach ache, and then head out the door.

When I was still living at home, my mom would see me off in the morning and wish me a good day, then she would say, “Wait! You have to smile first.” So I would give her a fake smile and leave.

Funny thing. That fake smile would loosen a few knots in my stomach.

I think the reason this worked isn’t so much that a fake smile made me relax, but this: If you smile at someone, they usually smile back. Then you have a real smile to give back. It’s a smile volley.

Which is why smiling at yourself in the mirror is so great. You can actually see the stress leaving your face. The jowls perk up, the eyes twinkle, the laugh lines … well … better laugh lines than frown lines. The point is, smiling at yourself in the mirror is like flipping on a beauty switch. Suddenly you look and feel better.

Usually. I mean, it’s not magic. Mondays still happen. But it does help. : )

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