P is for Positive

Dear Friend T,

A Happy Dance.

That is what I did when I hung up the phone after talking to you today.  Don't ask me why, I am not exactly sure.  I hung up the phone and my body just started doing a happy dance while my mind was thinking "What are you doing?!?!"

I guess I just appreciated being loved and appreciated and thought of, because I don't always feel that.  That is why I have been thinking about positive thinking lately.  Unless you start calling me every five minutes (don't really do that) then there will be times that negative thoughts creep into my mind.  Feelings of doubt and negative self-talk can really change the direction of the day.

Positive thinking, positive words, optimism, seeing the bright side of life, taking joy in the little things, remembering to smile, having hope...these are things that I just somehow forget when I start to despair.  Despair is where I don't want to be.  "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God." (Psalms 146:5)  Sometimes I just need a little help and eating a cookie is NOT the answer.

Friend T, here is one of the secrets of my life (and you know I don't just tell anyone my secrets).  :)

I learned this in Young Women's from my leader A.P.  Her Mom would make her and her sister's do this whenever they would get moody:

Tutorial on How to Make Yourself Be Happy
(Yes, you read that right.  This is a foolproof way to force yourself to be happy even if you don't want to or are having a hard time letting go of negative feelings that you do want to get rid of)

1.  Be Grumpy (Don't make yourself grumpy just to test this out!).  Notice how the corners of the mouth are kind of turned down.
2.  Take a pencil and insert it into your mouth.  Make sure it's yours or get permission from the owner first to slobber on their property.  This picture shows the incorrect form.  Read on for more details
3.  Put it back as far as it can go (see the difference from the above picture?).  This will force the corners of your mouth to turn upwards mimicking a smile.  It takes more muscles to smile than to frown so lots of times people revert to having a not very pleasant look on our faces.  It is impossible to not feel happy when you smile.  It shouldn't take longer than a few minutes and you should notice your mood improving as your smile muscles trick your brain into feeling happy.  Really difficult cases might take as long as 15 minutes, but I guarantee that by the end you will feel happy (and not just because you want to remove the pencil).
4.  Show your happy face and smile for the whole world to see!!!  See how you can see it in my eyes?  That's what I'm talking about.  Real happiness, not just a plastered perma-smile that screams FAKE.

I especially like to use this so that I don't take out my bad mood on others.  Sometimes I do this in the car on my way to a piano lesson or a church activity.  Sometimes I just do it around my house when I am having a hard time shaking something off.  It's an easy thing to do.  It can be done while I am doing something else, and my family isn't punished.

Once again, thank you for the surprise, spontaneous happy dance.  It made me laugh (out loud even) at myself.

Your Friend,


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