This morning I was walking from my car to the office. I was mostly looking down, thinking. I wasn't unhappy, but I was thinking about a number of things that weren't particularly happy, either.
* My hip and elbow still hurt from the hard fall I took on Saturday. A part of me thinks I'm acting like a baby since the injuries weren't that bad, but I had just bumped both on the car getting out and was made aware, again, that I am too old to be falling out of cars onto pavement.
* I am behind in several work projects. Some of them I like (the book project with Jeff) and some I am struggling with (readings for a global and cultural awareness/physical science class I am to teach next fall). Some have deadlines (two papers for NCTE next month) and some just need to be done soon (grad school recommendations for former students).
* I was thinking of family birthdays coming up, Thanksgiving, and Christmas--all need me to do something.
* EEK. I just remembered I have stake training to prepare for on November 7.
So, I was walking along, thinking about these things and the cold wind.
When I pass people, I generally look up quickly to give a small smile. This morning, one of those quick looks found the face of a student with a HUGE, genuine smile. She said "Hello!" in a cheery voice. I smiled back. I had to. Her smile was so big that to do anything else would have just been rude. And I felt my spirits literally lift. My face felt stiff, but my spirits felt lightened. I smiled the rest of the way to my office--and I started thinking about smiles and how they make people happy and how they are contagious.
I did just a little inquiry on smiling and found out some interesting facts:
* They have lots of health benefits (including decreasing stress, increasing productivity, and killing pain).
* A smile can increase attention (think of a classroom of smiling students--they would all be attentive!) and improve chances for success, since others see a smile as a mark of confidence.
* A smile can take about three years off your age and makes you more attractive.
* BUT the benefits only work if the smile is genuine. Fake smiles don't use the same muscles (especially around the eyes) and don't have quite the same effect. So, we should try to make our smiles as genuine as possible.
And then I started thinking about things that make me smile. And I thought I would put this link in here (laughing babies always make me smile) and some pictures of some of my grandchildren smiling (they always make me smile, too) with the hope that this post will bring smiles to readers and make them healthier and happier, too! Maybe we can spread smiling around a lot more. Here's a smile for you!