10 Reasons to Smile
April 7, 2011, by Cathy Fischer
Cathy finds inspiration for lightening up in dark times
The world seems to be in an upheaval these days. There’s so much bad news, it makes me want to burst into tears. But, I’ve decided to take a different path, to turn away from the sad and focus on the good.
From soul stirring to silly, brilliant to ballsy, here are ten things to get your face grinning.
#1) Smile! It’s Good for You
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that we look at ourselves in the mirror each day and smile. “What better way to start the day than with a smile?” he writes. “Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy.“
Smiling lowers blood pressure and relieves stress, it’s contagious, and everyone looks better when they smile. Even if you don’t feel like it, try smiling and get some sunshine from deep within.
#2) Hop on the Bus Gus!
In Los Angeles, where wheels rule, the Do Good Bus gives participants an opportunity to get involved in their community. With no religious affiliation, each trip is different and assignments are kept a secret until on board.
Activities range from building new homes to creating guerrilla gardens, helping high school seniors with college applications to giving out hugs to strangers. One of the endeavors they support, “The Burrito Project”, deserves its own smile.
#3) Rice and Beans Wrapped Up in Love
Feeding the homeless and hungry, The Burrito Project started in 2006 with two bicycle riders and 90 burritos. Now they have over 20 riders and feed 300 to 400 people weekly in the LA area. But wait, there’s more….
Anyone can start a Burrito Project, a DIY blog tells you how. There are many Projects throughout the U.S., one in Ciudad, Mexico and even a Falafel Project based in Damascus, Syria.
#4) Humor for the Slithery Soul
If you haven’t heard, a 20-inch Egyptian Cobra went missing in the Bronx Zoo a couple of weeks ago. The snake became one of New York’s most famous celebrities, inspiring comedians of all stripes. Twitter’s @BronxZoosCobra kept me in stitches!
Here are a few entries from the escaped reptile as she made her way around the Big Apple (there’s an Adam and Eve joke in there somewhere) to her eventual capture almost one week later.
Got a bagel at H & H Bagels on upper west side. When I ordered I said, “I’ll have the snakes on a PLAIN.” He did not laugh. Tough crowd.
Leaving Wall Street. These guys make my skin crawl. #snakeonthetown
Enjoying a cupcake @magnoliabakery. This is going straight to my hips. Oh, wait. I don’t have hips. Yesss!
A lot of you are asking for details of my capture. Basically I was caught between the moon and New York City. #snakeinthezoo
#5) Teens Bloom Through Songs from the Heart
60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl spent a year following this amazing story.
“There’s a street in Harlem that comes alive every Saturday with the sound of gospel music. You won’t find any church there — just a brownstone full of teenagers and the woman who draws them in. Her name is Vy Higginsen, a New York radio personality and theater producer. Five years ago she created something called Gospel for Teens.… And if you’re thinking that Higginsen thought up this program as a way to save the teens, you’d be wrong. She did it to save the music.”
Like Gospel music, Vy Higginsen lifts people up. See the stories and hear the voices of these kids, some of whom are having hard times in their young lives. Get out your hankies, there may be some tears of joy served up with this smile.
#6) The Happiness Project
I’ve been on the email list for The Happiness Project for almost three years and have watched its founder Gretchen Rubin go from hesitant experimenter to best-selling author. Her book is an account of the year she spent test-driving studies and theories about how to be happier. You can get her findings on the site and even start your own Happiness Project.
#7) GOOD is Good
A website and quarterly print magazine covering a variety of topics, GOOD describes itself as “ a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward.” They also send daily doses of good stuff via email.
Here’s a tidbit:
“The special effects wizards over at Weta (they’re the folks who made the costumes and creatures for the Lord of the Rings movies) recently designed a mermaid tail so Nadya Vessey, a double amputee, can swim. And they did it just to be nice.”
#8) This is Your Brain On…
All those theories about dead brain cells from partying in your youth can now go up in smoke. There have been some very exciting discoveries lately in the field of brain science concerning the plasticity, adaptive nature and self-correcting features of the human brain. Brain cells actually do regenerate! New neurons are created in the brain every day, even in people in their 70s.
If this type of stuff fascinates you, as it does me, you can hear the experts for free during the New Brain Science Teleseminar Series on Wednesdays at 5:00 PM Eastern / 2:00 Pacific until May 4th. (For access at other times there’s a fee.)
#9) Interpretive Pooch Makes Beautiful Music
This video says it all. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing like no one is listening and sing your heart to happy!
#10) Kittens, Kittens, Kittens!
Need I say more?
I hope these 10 reasons have helped you smile your way to a better day.
Share your own smile stimulant. What makes you smile?