Friday, September 10, 2010

Learning how to smile

I've told one of my secrets to a few people lately. My niece-in-law was one of them. And yes, I know that is not a family identifier in true genealogy, but it should be.

It took me a long time, but I learned how to smile about things. With my MS, this really helps. But it helps in all parts of life. When things get you down. Or when you're angry. Whenever you need to start feeling better.

How? Stop and make a conscious effort to look around you or look at the situation. Look for something about it that makes you smile. If your child or spouse has made you angry, there has to be something about the situation that is actually funny or cute. Stop and concentrate for a minute on that part.

Then smile about it. And realize how good that smile feels. It's nice. Much nicer than being angry. This is the feeling you want to have.

It's the same when you're sad or depressed. It's actually easy with my MS. I look for the humor in my situation. Sure it's hard. But I can get some great one liners out of it. I can either choose to cry about it or laugh about it. Trust me, laughing feels a LOT better. And if you don't believe me, you haven't really tried it.

Our son once was so angry he literally put his fist through a wall. After making sure that he hadn't damaged his hand. We were all in stitches even while he was patching the wall. Laughing about how none of us realized he had gotten that strong. Wow - who knew a SWIMMER had it in him? We were glad he only used that strength on a wall! What did that wall do to deserve that? And through the humor, we made sure that he was well aware of the damage that much anger COULD have done. Wouldn't it have been better if he had found something to smile about before he got to the fist through the wall point?

And if you're having a fight with someone, suggest that you both stop for a minute to smile. Talking about the problem will be much easier after a good smile. Even if you're not smiling about the same thing.

I'm not saying that smiling will make everything go away. Of course it won't. Problems will still be there. And I definitely suggest professional counseling when it's needed. And for MS and clinical depression I do espouse drugs if a doctor feels they are needed.

But smiling helps get through the day by day problems. And besides, smiles really are contagious. I hope the one I have right now has caught on to you!

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