At the beginning of October, I was fortunate enough to read a wonderfully inspiring blog post by the lovely Juhi of Assorted Cognition. In her post, she spoke about the final three months of the year being an opportunity to catch up on your goals and keep going by finding new ones.
Inspired by this she went on to say that she would be attempting a month-long challenge in October. And the challenge?
To smile every single day as she got up.
Well, it may seem so, but this simple act can have some truly big impact on our day ahead. After all, we have all experienced one of those days when we feel sluggish and unproductive. Can a simple smile in the morning change that?
Yes, it can. There are many benefits associated with smiling, not only on your mood, your appearance but also your health. Here are just a few examples; it makes you feel great through a rush of endorphin’s released by the act of smiling, it’s contagious so you can help improve someone else’s day also, it lowers stress and anxiety so that you can tackle your day in the right mindset, you will not only look more attractive but feel it too AND its boost your immune system. Whats not to love!
Having commented on Juni’s post to cheer her on, I happened to mention that I would like to give the challenge a go also. We agreed to collaborate on our efforts and the effects of this happy challenge.
Confession time, it’s a good thing Juhi encourages the mantra that it’s never too late to start as I am rather tardy with this post! But let’s just smile and move on, shall we?
So here we are, 30+ days later , and how did it go?
Well first of all I feel great! And that’s saying something. My confidence is up and I generally feel happier and the mornings are no longer a hellish ordeal but something I am learning to love (and I am not a morning person!).
As simplistic as this challenge seems at first glance it is not the easiest thing to remember to do. When you get up at 5:30 am in the pitch black of early winter, the last thing you want to do is springboard out of bed, beaming from ear to ear.
But this is in fact the very thing that is going to help you along your way to having a really great day.
After just a few days of smiling when I got up I found that getting out of bed seemed just that bit easier. I was in a lighter mood as we commuted to work or tackled the freelance e-mails at home. Problems started to not bother me as much and in general I had a smile on my face more often then not throughout the day. When faced with a challenge I was quicker to act and I found myself generally not getting as wound up as before over little things that used to really bug me.
I think for a such a simple act that has so many benefits, the hardest thing was trying to remember to participate in the first few moments of getting out of bed. to start with I was foggy headed and just wanting to roll over and go back to sleep. But within a week that all changed. So here are a few of my tips on how I did it:
1. Write on the mirrors
I love erasable boards and markers, but did you know they erasable markers also work on mirrors and glass? You can also purchase special mirror pens. What better way to start the day than to read a joke as you brush your teeth, or give yourself a compliment as you comb your hair. It is so easy to do, you just need to write on the mirror the night before and voila, instant smile.
2. Snuggle with pets
I love my kittens and one of the highlights of my day is waking with a purring kitty asleep on my pillow awaiting a cuddle. It is such a sweet experience knowing that a creature wants to be close to you and regards you as a safe companion or even as a mother figure. I adore the way Auri, my littlest kitten purrs and snores as she rests on my collar bone or how Bast will but his paw on my face as I try to roll out of bed (he likes his mummy cuddles too). It’s a gift I am most thankful for and it always makes me smile.
And if you don’t have a pet don’t despair, husbands and teddy bears work too.
3. Smile Alarm
This is an app I have on my Ipad that I use as a regular alarm clock. The nice thing about this particular alarm is that it has the option of setting a few teasers that disengage the snooze button and ensure you wake up properly. As well as the option of a pass code, one of the features makes you smile at the camera for X amount of seconds to shut the alarm off. It makes you produce the biggest, cheesiest grin you are capable of, waking you up along the way.
There are a variety of these apps out there on all platforms, and I would highly recommend you give them a try. They are such good fun and a great way to start the day!
4. Go to sleep with the curtains open
Depending on the time of year will depend on whether or not you wake up to the sunshine outside, but I have found that waking up to the bright silver of the moon works wonders too. It just casts enough light to make me wake up that little bit more then if the curtains where closed. I also like that I can hear the outside world better with the curtains open, and I don’t know about you but hearing the sheep in the fields or the tawny owl about to roost always puts a smile on my face.
5. Change the alarm ring to music
This is a great tip in general but having music you love playing is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. So pump yourself up as you jump out of bed with a tune you can’t help but dance too, and I am sure you will also be smiling. This will not only help you get up and put a smile on your face, but it helps to get in a little bit of exercise in too.
I have really enjoyed this challenge and I think it is defiantly something I want to try to keep up with from here on out. Now I challenge you, give the smile challenge a go for the next 30 days or even the next week, and let me know in the comments below how you get on. There’s no excuse not to feel great.
Another big thank you to Juhi of Assorted Cognition for inspiring this post and this challenge. She has a really fantastic, positive blog, so please do head over and check it out.