Let your smile change the world but don’t let the world change your smile.

We’ve heard a million sayings about the power of smiling, but so many of us walk around looking stoic and closed off.

Years ago, when I was working in Harlem, I used to walk past this one homeless man every single day.  I was constantly wearing my headphones and looking forward and focused at all times.  Until one day, when I forgot my iPod and had to experience the walk from the subway to my office.  I walked past the same man I had walked past for weeks but this time, he said, “good morning” and so I said good morning back.  He quickly replied, “Atta girl, you never smile, and you have got a whole lot to smile about!”  I’m not going to say I smiled every single walk from the train to my office from that point forward, but a good morning to this man was in order every time I walked by him.

The power of our smiles are an underestimated but untapped happiness resource we all have at our disposal.  Studies have shown that people who smile regularly and often lead happier and more connected lives.

For instance, did you know that smiling is contagious?

Here are  some other facts about smiling:

  • Smiling makes you appear more attractive to others.
  • Smiling can instantly improve your mood and the mood of those around us.
  • Smiling can boost our immunity.
  • Smiling activates neuropeptides that send messages of happiness throughout the body causing a chain reaction of the release of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin which relax your body and naturally lower your blood pressure.

So slap on a happy grin! 🙂

Daily Intention Workout #12

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How often do you smile?

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Pleasure is always derived from something outside you, whereas joy arises from within.

-Ekhart Tolle

Joy is not just a word used during the holiday season.  Joy is a something we all need in our lives 365 days a year.  The word joy comes from the Latin word gaudere which means “rejoice” — which means to show great delight.

Today’s intention, joy, is to find the happiness and good in what you have to be thankful for in your life right now.  It’s about finding your true happiness.  

You may be thinking if being happy is so easy, why are so many people so miserable?  The reason so many people are unhappy is because they are always searching outside of themselves for what brings them happiness.

If you regularly require other people’s approval, you’ll never find happiness in loving yourself.

If you typically expect things to bring you happiness instead of finding pleasure in the things you have already available to you.

If you constantly worry that you’re not living your life’s passion, you’ll never truly find it.

(By the way, here’s an amazing TED Talk by Terri Trespicio called, “Stop Searching for Your Passion.”)

We can embrace more joy in our lives by small acts such as starting a new hobby, having kind conversations with yourself, and volunteering to a cause that helps others.

Being in service to ourselves and others is where our real joy begins.

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How will you discover the joy within yourself?

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Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never, ever have enough.

-Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is such a wise lady.  I’m not saying this because, well, she’s Oprah, but because if anybody on this planet can attest to what possessions can and can’t bring you, it’s Ms. Winfrey.

I used to be envious of people who had more material possessions than I do.   Seriously, so guilty.  I’ve come to realize that the only way to be truly happy with life (regardless of my circumstances) is to appreciate all that I do have.  We could always “have more” or “have better” in our minds, but that’s the only place where this train of thought runs true.

Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.   Every day that we wake up and have bodies that don’t fail us, we need to show appreciation.  Our gratitude is the appreciation of having friends, loved ones, food to eat, and shelter.  Gratitude is giving to others through the gifts that we have.

When we know what we have and appreciate it, the less we desire to fill our lives.

Some of the ways you can practice the intention of gratitude

  • Compliment others or make positive statements/observations about the environment around you.
  • Minimize gossip or critical statements for 48 hours.
  • Discover what you can learn from any “negative” situations you may encounter and how to use that lesson in the future.

Today’s Daily Intention Workout #10

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[Tweet “Daily Intention Workout #10 — Gratitude. What are you grateful for in your life right now? #Gratitude #SelfImprovement via @BeetsPerMinute”] 

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How do you express gratitude?

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We do not see things are they are.  We see things as we are.

-Anais Nin

Have you ever been in a mental fog?  I’m sure you have.  I know that I have been so many more times than I can count.  The problem with experiencing mental fog and tunnel vision is that we tend to lack the perspective we need to broaden our thought horizons.  In other words, we only digest one version of everything we experience.

For instance, I used to suffer from repeating the same mistakes in every relationship I had.  It was quite foolish looking back now because the scenario never worked out the way I thought I wanted it to, and that was because I kept doing the same things and expecting different results.   I believe they call this the “definition of insanity.”    I wouldn’t go that far, but I will say that the less open we are to insight and self-examination, the more likely we are never to break out of habitual patterns of self-destruction.

Wahey, that’s a mouthful, right?

So, today’s intention is clarity.  Clarity is all about seeing “the big picture” and allowing ourselves to gain beneficial personal insights.  We may not always like what we learn about ourselves, but when you can discover ways that you may be sabotaging your happiness it’s beyond valuable.  In my post, Why I’m Happy My Husband Pointed Out My Worst QualityI talked about how my husband pointed out my chronic habit of feeling like a victim.  At first, I felt insulted and uncomfortable about his insights, but giving myself time to separate from all the content of my “story,” I was able to see that yes, I had in fact been sabotaging connections because spent so much time feeling like I was under attack.

I’m not convinced that I wouldn’t have been able to gain this valuable insight to myself without my husband because clarity is something we gain from within ourselves but I am fortunate enough to have ended up with someone who loves me enough to want me to live a happy and drama-free life.

Tips for achieving clarity in your life

  • Spend time with people who have values and goals in alignment with your own.
  • Limit mind-numbing television and social media scrolling and replace those activities with reading motivational books or time outdoors in nature.
  • Visualize yourself free of drama and how you ideally would want to resolve problems or setbacks you may be facing.
  • Eat more unrefined foods and limit the toxins and stimulants you take in. Caffeine and alcohol can significantly impair clarity.
  • Keep track of your goals, whatever they are!

And now for today’s Daily Intention Workout!

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[Tweet “Daily Intention Workout #9 — Is there clarity in your life? #SelfImprovement #Happiness via @BeetsPerMinute”]

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Do you seek clarity in your life?

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Happy Monday and start and day 8 of my February Daily Intention Workout Challenge!  I hope your first week of February was a great one.  We’re into week six of 2016, and I know I keep saying it, but wow — time is ‘a flyin’!

It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.

Mahatma Gandhi
Ahh, Gandhi.  You cannot argue with the wisest of souls.  Let’s face it, many of us put our health below the number one spot on our “list of priorities”.  It’s crazy, right?  Without our health, it doesn’t matter what else we have.
Health should always be our priority.  I’ve been there (and I still struggle) when we don’t make it our priority, the universe finds a way of making it so.  Don’t believe me?  What happens when you don’t sleep enough?  Your body will not go on without necessary rest, and you crash.  What happens when you fuel your body with junk food?  Your metabolism becomes your worst enemy; your body cannot supply you with useful energy, and you crash.   What happens when you’re stressed out?  Your cortisol levels skyrocket, you can under or overeat, and you (say it with me) crash.  
When our health is compromised only then do many of us make bargains to take care of ourselves better.  After a bad hangover, we swear off drinking.  After a bad cold from killing ourselves to meet a demand, we swear to work on our life/work balance.
So, since we’re becoming such radical thinkers, today’s intention is health.
Do you eat and move mindfully?
How do you practice self-care?
Do you make decisions that will improve your health or hinder it?
Let’s break the cycle of nurturing our bodies and minds only after we’ve depleted them of their essential needs.  Make healthy choices now.  Ask yourself the question “how will this choice/action improve my health” every single day.
I’m not suggesting you should stop enjoying your life, I’m proposing that you make enjoying your good health your priority.

Today’s Daily Intention Workout.  Day 8:  Health

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What’s one healthy choice you made today?

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