Today, we share 7 things to make you smile. We know that smiling and laughing are things we do when we feel happy, but did you know that smiling can have far reaching impacts on our health and wellbeing?
Socially, smiling more can ease relationships and improve the way others perceive you. Physically, the act of smiling has been shown to release a variety of hormones like serotonin, dopamine and endorphins that actually make you feel better (even if you fake the smile!). In his TED talk, Ron Gutman shares a variety of research proving that smiling can even impact how long we live and how happy our marriages are.
We hope you enjoy the following suggestions and that you find a few things to make you smile today…
1. Waking up with a winter walk
Along with the cold January temperatures we’ve also been treated to some beautiful frosty scenes on many of the mornings this past week. Whether you’re always up early or it’s tempting to lay in and keep cozy, why not set a goal to wrap up warm and go for a short walk each morning over the week ahead?
You’ll be dazzled by the glittering frost and there’s no better way to feel more energised at the start of the day than by moving your body and really enjoying some fresh air.
2. Savouring the positive
Over the past couple of weeks, we have heard from experts on what the most powerful methods are for cultivating a more positive outlook. One idea that came up in both our talk from positive psychology expert, Miriam Ahktar, and in the advice from our mindfulness teacher, Catherine Nasskau, was something we all have at our fingertips: gratitude and savouring the positive.
We spend so much of our lives being bombarded with bad news and stories of what’s going wrong in the world. It might sound simple, but it can be really impactful to spend just a few minutes each day, perhaps just before falling asleep, deliberately recalling and dwelling on the positive things in our lives, like the good relationships, the things we’re proud of or a delicious meal we’ve eaten. Why not give it a go and see how it makes you feel?
3. Reaching out for a chat
It might seem the most obvious of all, but what better way to get smiling than by catching up with an old friend or calling a relative to see how they are? The thing about the lockdowns of the past years is that all of us have, to lesser or greater extents, fallen out of the habit of regular socialising. It can be easy to overlook the joy we get from calling old friends, or having a catch up with someone in our lives.
Why not call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, or arrange to see grandchildren or family for a walk or for some lunch? Technology means that we have so many more options to re-connect with others over a (video) call, so even if you don’t live close to one another you can spend some time together virtually, even propping them up on the Ipad so you can chat while you make dinner!
Are you looking to socialise with other members of The Joy Club? Once you become a member of The Joy Club, you will be accepted into our members-only Facebook group for laughter, friendships and more!
4. On the other hand, staying in also sounds tempting…
One of the best bits about this time of year is enjoying the real cosiness of being indoors when the temperature drops outside. Having ticked a walk off your list for the day and enjoyed some talks and classes at The Joy Club, why not treat yourself to a warm Friday night in?
Why not snuggle up with a blanket and a hot water bottle tonight and catch up on a cheerful and uplifting TV series like Queer Eye (Netflix) or dive into the world of a great book, like ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ by Richard Osmond, our chosen novel for our next Book Club.
Looking for some more inspiration? Take a look at our recent article by Chris Guiton on ‘Re-discovering the joy of reading’ here! You can join the conversation in the comments section and ask other members what they have been reading lately.
5. Helping others is helping ourselves
This one is a bit like the former, ‘catch up with a friend’ and it also borrows from the methods suggested by our happiness experts. The idea is simple: feel better for spending time on acts of kindness for others. The science behind this is also well-documented and indicates that doing things for other people makes us feel good.
Even the smallest gestures can have a big impact. Why not set aside some time to send a letter to a friend and include a nice postcard or photograph you’ve come across? Or reach out to someone who you know is having a hard time and invite them to do something together? You could even join The Joy Club together, inviting them to sign up with you and choosing some talks or classes to try together, or suggest going for a walk or planning a time to meet later this year.
6. Make a playlist you really love
This one might seem obvious, but many of us end up listening to whatever music comes on the radio and forgetting to play some of our absolute favourite songs. Whether you want to have a look online and buy some of your favourite artists’ CDs, or you enjoy using streaming services like Spotify, why not spend a bit of time putting together a playlist of your favourite singers and songs?
In the words of Grace Meadows, who wrote all about music and memory for The Joy Club earlier this week,
‘Not only can music connect us with memories, it also stimulates us to share those memories and to make connections in the here and now. Music’s ability to connect us is one of its greatest powers’ (Grace Meadows)
7. Do more of what makes you laugh!
Much like listening to music, we can be remiss in making time for things that make us laugh. Laughing has all the benefits of smiling and then some, helping to release tension from the body and giving us a natural antidote to low moods.
Why not re-watch one of your favourite comedy films this weekend, or have a look on YouTube for clips of a stand-up comedian that you like? Even if you’ve seen their sets before, there’s bound to be some old favourite jokes that still make you giggle.
Today we shared an article written by member Sandra Falconer all about the power of comedy and laughter, so take a look at that for some more inspiration and to spread the joy by sharing what makes you laugh with other members!
Would you like to enjoy all the inspiring articles and uplifting events listed in this blog?
The Joy Club is an online activity club for people who enjoy keeping busy! When you become a member, you can try something new at live online events every weekday and find inspiration with our uplifting member-only articles and videos.
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Whether you’d like to try your hand at crafting, practice Tai Chi or join an expert talk – or perhaps you’d prefer to grab a cuppa and settle in to read our latest member interview – there’s something for you at The Joy Club.
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