Column: The smiling exercise

Ever notice the feeling you get when you are walking around with a smile on your face? I usually feel a little bit goofy, a little self-conscious. But my fear is allayed the minute I come in contact with another person.

The same smile pops up on their face.

“Why are you smiling?” they ask through their own goofy grin.

If I have an appropriate answer, a conversation starts. If I don’t have an appropriate answer, the smiles grow even bigger.

“I don’t know,” I say sheepishly as my smile takes over my face.

“Oh? OK,” they say as they follow the beam of their own smile on down the hall.

Unlike frowning, people don’t always need a reason for smiling. No matter if it’s their own smile or someone else’s.

I don’t always have a reason, because sometimes I am just smiling as an exercise.

There are three simple rules to the smiling exercise:
1) Do it on purpose. 2) Do it more often. 3) Start in the morning.

I emphasize smiling on purpose emphatically. Sure, it’s an automatic reaction that our bodies handle on autopilot, but smiling on purpose jump-starts the feeling of giddiness.

Smiling on purpose also allows us to dispense smiles more often, like Pez from a Pez dispenser, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sad person holding a Pez dispenser!

One morning smile will jettison you and any bystanders into the light of the new day.


About genemyers

Gene Myers is a New Jersey poet, music journalist and columnist who learned to walk twice. His weekly column is called The Joy of Life. He was awarded first place in Arts and Entertainment Writing by The New Jersey Press Association.
This entry was posted in frowning, happiness, smiling, The Joy of Life and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Column: The smiling exercise

  1. Allan says:

    Smiling is wonderful! 42 years ago (I’m old!) a stranger I walked past gave me a big grin, and said something like, “Nice evening!” I was shocked, but surprised by how good it made me fee. Slowly it became my habit to grin and express happiness. Guess what? I feel that happiness routinely. But maybe I only think I’m happy. 🙂

  2. Gene Myers says:

    If you only thought you were happy, it wouldn’t FEEL the same. Here’s a thought experiment: If you could hook up to a happiness machine and feel happiness all of the time, would you do it?

  3. Anonymous says:

    How sad that the Dodge Foundation, which has previously been so supportive of the arts in the state of New Jersey, should pull back on funds for such an amazing and worthwhile festival. It is good to hear that Montclair might respond to this and offer some version of the festival in the future. However, we can only hope that Dodge would reconsider and continue to recognize the worth of this event. Poetry is like crystal: clear, reflective of the light of the human soul. At a time when we need to open expression in our children and celebrate the rich plurality of voices in our society, the poetry festival is as important as ever – maybe moreso in these difficult economic times.

    Dr. Robert McParland

  4. Great article Gene, thanks for the reminder to smile. I have been thinking alot about this lately. One of the compliments I frequently got when I was young was that I was often smiling and it made others feel good.

    Don’t get that so much anymore… too often wrapped up in work or thinking through some thing. I have been making a conscious effort to be in the mindset to spontaneously smile more…

    Sounds like an oxymoron now that I write it:)

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