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by Patty Morell Bilhartz, M.D., M.P.H.


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The Picture Says It All!


My grandson insisted that the above picture be taken with him and one of his favorite toys. This toy delights him so much that he takes “Mikey” pretty much everywhere he goes. Mikey accompanies the family on all outings, and although Mikey has never been to school, he goes pretty much everywhere else!

I guess it could be argued that Mikey’s presence can be a bit pesky at times, especially for those family members that are most often around him. But, no one can argue that Mikey’s countenance has the potential to cheer up even the grumpiest soul! Because, as you can see, Mikey is always smiling.

No matter if he is dropped on the floor, left behind, sat on, or temporarily forgotten, he always appears happy. No matter what.

His grin spans the width of his face, literally from ear to ear. His smile is so big that it bodaciously shows off all of his teeth.

And, the sparkle in his one eye says it all. Life is good!

Mikey’s ever-grin has spurred me to think about all of the lessons that he can teach. With that continuous grandiose smile. If I’m willing to listen.

For starters, what if my smile could improve someone’s day? What if my joyful presence could light up a room?

How much does it cost me just to smile, chuckle or laugh?

The problem is that I’m usually “too busy” to smile. I’m often too encumbered with my concerns to remember that my blessings far outweigh my challenges. I’m frequently way too preoccupied with my issues to even think about cheering up another person.

I once read that you can look at someone’s face at age 70 and know what kind of a life they have experienced. That was a sobering thought.

It’s true that our face reflects our thoughts and feelings. So, over the long haul, our thoughts and emotions can literally shape the way that we look.

Maybe it can work in reverse. When we smile–even if we don’t feel like it–we propel ourselves to think happier thoughts. When we force a grin–even when it’s difficult–we cheer ourselves. And, it actually feels amazing!

In my moments when I am living at my Higher Self, I remember to reflect gratefulness and joy. On my face, with a smile. But, more and more I’m becoming aware that those times may be too few.

So, I’ve determined a few easy ways to make my day and others’ days a little brighter.

  • It starts with my first intentions upon awakening. My choices of thoughts are: “Rise and Whine,” or “Rise and Shine.” “Good God, it’s morning” or “Good morning, God.” Intentions that today will be a good day, and that I have much to be thankful for, give me a beautiful start.
  • Then, I say a potentially transforming statement: “How great God is, and how grateful I am!” I make a quick mental list of all of my blessings. Then I consciously smile.
  • For some reason, positive intentions aren’t always easy. Some days present with a little more difficulty than others. But, it’s amazing when I overtly attempt to plan a great day, a great day unfolds.
  • As I move forward in my day, I try to smile a little more than the average adult (which is about 3 times daily!). Being more childlike, more in the moment helps. Lightening up and letting go makes it easier. Expressing love and gratefulness brings joy to my face and the face of others.
  • And, as my day winds down, I have begun a new habit. When I lie down at night to go to sleep, I literally turn the corners of my mouth up into a grin. I mentally remember to think of as many blessings as I can before drifting off to sleep. It makes for better sleep, as well as an easier wakeup.

I’ve love to see our Wellness Community engage in an experiment to consciously smile at least 10 times daily. Or more if you want to be a star student!

Let’s practice smiling when we’re in computer gridlock, bumper-to-bumper traffic, chronic pain, or a massive hurry.

Just one smile. It could change the world. And, it will definitely change us. For the better.

Will you join me in the 10-times-daily Smile Experiment? I’d love to hear how it has made a difference for you.

Comments (2)

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    I feel I must share this. When my little granddaughter with severe special needs was just 4 months old I went with her parents to an out of town city for them to attend a week long course in how to give her therapy while
    I kept Her. We were guests in a beautiful home but I was by myself all day and it got a little lonely so I took my granddaughter in her stroller to the mall. As much as God had graced us in helping us keep our eyes on Him during this time of adjustments to my granddaughters situation, this particular day I was in some despair as I walked the mall and
    heard other children acting so typically and realizing my granddaughter would likely never do those things. Yes it was a pity part I hate to admit but my point in telling this and it brings tears to my eyes to remember how much it meant to me, but a lady I can still remember her face 12 yrs later simply smiled at me ..She immediately lifted my spirits and changed my whole outlook. I feel she was a messenger from God, maybe one of His Angels because it was the most loving smile.
    How she reached out to me and ministered to me in that smile I don’t understand but I never again doubted the power of a smile.


    • Avatar

      Patty Bilhartz


      Thank you, Betty, for sharing this beautiful story that is encouraging and modeling for our lives as well!


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