smile, if you feel like it

I read an article in the waiting room the other day while waiting to see my FNP. So often, you read advice – or are outright told – to “fake it till you make it” or to “just smile.” And doesn’t that just annoy you? This article in Arthritis Today (May/June issue) advised to “Keep it Real,” instead.

I liked it.

Be grateful, if it’s genuine.

We know that paying attention to the little things and practicing gratitude can help you feel happier. But if you feel like you’re expected to be grateful, it can make you feel worse. The article recommends taking shame and judgment out of the equation and asking yourself if your gratitude is genuine. Focus instead of things you are truly thankful for.

Laugh more, if you want to.

Laughter can increase endorphins and lower stress – which makes it “the best medicine,” right? But masking other emotions like hurt or anger can cause increased stress, anxiety and depression. And don’t laugh at someone else’s expense. Studies also show that putting others down can cause you to feel depressed and alienated yourself.

Help others, but not at your own expense.

People who are kind to others are less likely to have high blood pressure and depression. Giving a gift, or presumably doing one of those unexpected kindnesses for someone, can trigger feel-good brain chemicals. But if you always say yes, ignoring your own needs, you can begin to feel resentful – and stress and anger contribute to pain and inflammation. Practice saying no and commit to only what you can and want to take on.

Good advice, yes?

Update on the herb seedlings. Some are doing quite well – the parsley is looking pretty good. The cilantro, probably going to have to buy a plant to replace it. Basil is great, oregano looks decent as well as thyme. Garlic chives are still okay. Marjoram is okay. They all need more sun so I need to start moving them outside soon. Sage is going to have to be replaced, too. Not having much luck with sage this year. I actually had to turn the heat back on – it was 36° last night. But within the next couple weeks it should be okay.

I have two guys coming out to give me lawncare estimates. Both promise that they will do the lawn every two weeks and not make me chase them down. We’ll see.

parsley growing

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4 thoughts on “smile, if you feel like it”

  1. I really, really like the message of that article. It reminds me of what I posted about HOW AWFUL I felt when others kept going on and on about how strong and admirable I was/am. I don’t feel that way and only those people felt better because they wanted to believe it! Easier and less stressful to pretend that Margaret is doing OK, even though her life partner has been ripped away from her. I do fake it a lot at work because it’s not my colleagues’ and students’ problem if I’m suffering from grief. It does make me feel better to get away from the reality sometimes. 🙂

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    1. I had kind of a similar reaction when friends used to come into the hospital and tell me how brave I was and how they “couldn’t” do it. I always felt that you did what you had to do and you got through it because you didn’t have a choice. And I’m not sure that that is brave. Maybe it is. We’re human. We’re strong and brave and we’re weak and scared. Sometimes we fake it and sometimes we don’t.

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  2. I’ve dropped friends people who insist on laughing at others. You know, ppl who think that it’s acceptable to mock or criticize other people just to get a laugh out of it.

    And I’m grateful that I did have the sense to do so. Begging the question, if I smile about getting rid of them am I doing the same thing that they did, i.e. laughing at someone’s misfortune?

    Oh dear. This requires more coffee and more introspection. Good thoughts here.

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    1. Circular reasoning. Not that coffee is a bad idea, but I doubt that you are laughing maniacally at those people who are toxic to you. Much. 🙂

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