Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Smile More

This is something I picked up on along the years. Can’t recall even approximately when, but I do know that now it’s a habit. And, I consider it a good habit, a healthy habit. Plus it really fits in with the dictate “Move your Muscles.”

Smiling is a muscular act – and we are the ones who control and command our muscles. Of course there are times we smile spontaneously – when we see something we like, admire or even appreciate.

But what about those times when we don’t feel like showing any joy? When we’ve lost our spontaneity? I can remember that happening to me – more than a year when there was nothing to feel good or happy about. When my mood did lift, there still wasn’t a whole lot ‘out there’ to smile about, yet I made it a point to smile more and more.

There are some pretty amazing stats about the benefits of smiling:
~~ Smiling triggers our bodies to release natural, beneficial chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, and even natural pain relievers.

The combination of those makes us feel good. And who doesn’t want to feel good? Plus those chemicals boost our immune systems.
~~ People react to us more positively when we smile. Think about it. Would you rather interact with someone who looks gloomy, or someone who looks cheerful?

From those two statements alone we can see the simple act of smiling benefits our bodies and our minds, as well as influencing those around us in an uplifting way.

From the beginning, smiling can seem strange, a bit odd, almost uncomfortable - like anything we do that is ‘new’ can be. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long at all to get over the strangeness of it.

Chances are you may not feel the difference immediately, but the long-term effects are wonderful. Make a firm decision to start and keep it up! Do it, even when you are feeling good – you’ll feel even better. Do it for the sake of doing something positive for yourself.

There’s an old expression: It takes just as many muscles to smile as it does to frown. To be honest, I really don’t know if that's true. But I do know I feel better when I smile. Which is precisely why I do smile.

Don’t wait for ‘something’ good or spectacular to happen in your outer environment to put on that smile. Do it. Now. Right now!

Smile More. It’s good for you!

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Monday, April 5, 2010

Fearful Anticipation…

is typically, usually, generally much worse than the actual event.
Another way of saying that is: It’s almost certainly not going to be as bad as you think it will be.

Fearful anticipation is composed of thoughts - Thoughts which are insecure, anxious, negative; ones which make us feel fearful, frightened, scared, upset, worried, apprehensive, alarmed and even panicky or terrified.

These photos arrived the other day in an email.

Trust me – they’re totally tame.

The Headline:
Polar Bear Attack in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada

Underneath the photos this statement:
May your troubles always be smaller than you imagine!

We all have times when we initially expect the unpleasant or the worst. Dwelling in that mode, that mindset, is what creates the fearful anticipation and the unpleasant bodily symptoms too.

Fearful anticipation is composed of thoughts - thoughts which are insecure, anxious, negative; ones which make us feel fearful, frightened, scared, upset, worried, apprehensive, alarmed and even panicky or terrified.

And lots of times that fearful anticipation can take up more time and more energy than the actual event. Let’s say you have something to do – something that’s not the most pleasant thing in the world to you. You can spend hours, and even days just about consumed with the idea of danger –about what kind of symptoms you’re going to have and/or how intense they’re going to be.

Reminders: nervous fear is the fear of discomfort. We are afraid of feeling afraid or uncomfortable. Another thing to remember is that it’s not people, places or things that ‘cause’ our symptoms, it’s our attitude (composed of thoughts) about whatever it is in the outer environment. Of course an event can ‘trigger’ symptoms, trigger an original response, but we are the ones who keep the response alive – increasing it or exterminating it through our thoughts.

There is a way to cancel out those worry thoughts, with a straightforward, realistic thought: “I don’t know how good or bad I’m going to feel”. Better yet, “I don’t know how I’m going to feel”. Another secure thought I always used in the beginning was: “I have some tools, some secure thoughts to use now, plus, I CAN trust my basic functions to carry me through.

The most common argument I hear against/about that ‘trust your basic functions’ one is: “Well once upon a time I was so bad off from a panic attack I got carted away in an ambulance.” That’s a totally average thing to go through. Lots of us had that happen. Why did that particular past incident get so scary and the symptoms intense enough to make us think we needed emergency help? Because the fear thoughts overtook our minds. I for one can attest to the fact that when I had my ‘worst’ panic attack – danger thoughts were the ONLY thing going on in my mind. I made ‘it’ worse. I kept the panic alive. I kept the symptoms growing.

The only way to stop the fearful anticipation, either before or during a stress-filled event is to change to secure thoughts – Consistent and persistent, determined and relentless practice.

Practice. That’s the only method I know that keeps us At Ease and In Control, or in some cases at least ‘somewhat’ at ease and in control.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved