Originally, this blog post was titled '5 New Year's Resolutions Everyone Should Make', yet all of my five resolutions reached the same outcome. There is only one New Year's Resolution that you need to make this year, and it will change your life.
Are we reaching too far? Just because it's the first day of a new year does not mean quitting smoking will be any easier. It doesn't mean that you will suddenly have the energy and motivation to jump off the couch and squat.
Forget the cliche Resolutions. This is the only one you need to make, and keep.
That's it. Just smile. Make it happen, even when you think there is absolutely nothing to smile about, there is. Smiling more is the key to your success for 2016, and I'm going to tell you why.
We all know that familiar feeling when we see someone that makes us happy, or hear something that makes us laugh. We feel good. In that glorious moment, even if it is only a second, our brain goes into happy-mode, meaning that every time we smile, we feel great. However, this also works in reverse. When we smile spontaneously, the contracting muscles we use to smile send a signal to our brain that trigger those happy feelings, giving us the same euphoria we feel if the smile had been triggered by a joke or a memory. You can really make yourself feel happier just by smiling more.
Sometimes however, we need a little help, so here are my top three ways to bring much more smiling and an abundance of laughter into your 2016.
When you were younger, perhaps a relative may have comforted you through a time when a friend had let you down. They may have said something along the lines of 'If they felt okay with treating you in that way, then they were never your friend to begin with.' This is the exact thing to remember when we choose who we surround ourselves with.
Friends and loved ones are what keep us sane. Coffee dates, late night phone calls and laughter are our connection with the outside world. We connect with them on social media via networks like Facebook or Snapchat (Great blog about that here). When those people love us for who we are, we experience a level of acceptance that makes us happy on the inside. It warms us up from the outside in and infects our daily life in a positive way.
If you've ever been let down by someone, or found yourself in a toxic relationship, platonic or otherwise, then you will understand what I mean. When we find people that encourage us and push us to strive to greatness, there is no comparison to the way we feel. Find those people that give you the freedom to be exactly who you are.
You are beautiful, and no one should tell you otherwise.
Don't believe me? I can guarantee you that if you haven't already accepted yourself for who you are and you look in the mirror right now, you will pick out flaws that you don't like. These flaws are what make you, you and will mean nothing in five years time. Test this theory. Find a photo from your childhood and try to remember all of those things you hated about yourself. You're looking back at a younger version of yourself with flaws that don't matter to you anymore. So what if you had braces? Those pearly whites are rocking it now. Who cares if you had acne? You lived to tell the tale.
Don't restrict your happiness by hiding away from yourself. No one can be beautiful unless they truly believe it themselves, and acceptance is the first step.
Start small. Pick one thing you like about yourself every day. The way your hair likes to frizz in the humidity. The way your eyes seem to be a different colour each day. The way your nose turns slightly to the left. If these slight imperfections didn't exist, no one would be unique and you simply wouldn't be, you.
Find the things you've dubbed a flaw and learn to love them because they anything but unattractive. They are you, and you are magnificent.
And I mean everyone. Even that person that thought they had the right to make you feel bad about yourself. Be kind, even to them because it will be easier to move on in your life knowing you were always the bigger person. Being kind can mean the simplest of things. Holding the door. Saying hello to a stranger. Giving up your seat on public transport for another.
Kindness is a trait that not everyone has mastered, but you can. You can be a better person just by reminding yourself that not everyone is the same. Just because a person seems to be in a bad mood, doesn't mean you have the right to treat them differently to normal. You may just discover that the person having a bad day, really has something quite significant going on in their life and just wants someone to talk to.
Everyone is different. We've learnt it throughout our lives. Gender, race or social status are not things we should take into account when we decide how we are going to treat another human being.
When we take the time to be a better person, something happens inside us. There's a shift. We feel good, and we love ourselves a little bit more. Removing negativity from our lives is one guaranteed way that we can smile more.
Be kind, especially to yourself. You never know what possibilities may lie ahead if you take the time to smile more.
Happy New Year!!