The Power of a Smile

Whenever you feel that you are missing that feel-good feeling,  just pause for a moment, breathe to connect to your heart and allow yourself to embrace feelings of gratitude and you will notice a subtle smile blossoming.

As Thich Nhat Hanh explains, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”   Next time you’re feeling down, look out your window and have gratitude for the beauty of nature, whether it’s the sun shining or dark clouds passing above or a gentle breeze. The more you become aware of and are able to ignite internal good feelings and appreciation for what is, the more you can call upon these things when you need them to neutralize or balance you. Things you’re most thankful for can help you restore calm and well-being.  You may even be reminded that simple is grand.  By taking the time to consider the good in life, you nurture the good and the good will grow.

Have Less Stress: Learn to Pause

Pausing  is a way of coming back into a centered clear state.

The sacred art of pausing.”  Intentionally stop your actions, then breathe three or four full breaths,  soften your hands and  face.  Relax.  With a very slight smile and attention on your breath you tell your body to slow down.

Mindful presence”. Listen to yourself and ask, ‘What’s happening inside me right now?’ Then experience whatever is inside—maybe a feeling of anxiety or loneliness or restlessness or sorrow. It’s a way of getting intimate with your inner life. When people are stressed, they lose that contact.

Kindness”. Befriend yourself.  Send a message to yourself of kindness, of being worthy. Sometimes people say, ‘I accept myself just as I am.’ When we’re stressed we forget what really matters.”

Taken from an article by Tara Brach. This article first appeared in the December 2010 issue of The Washingtonian.