Want to Smile More? 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

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A dimple, a crinkle, a twinkle, and a lightness of the spirit equals a genuine smile. A smile has the power to capture hearts around us. I notice that a genuine smile makes me feel vibrantly alive! Smiling is about fulfillment: a sense of meaning, integrity, and satisfaction that fills a moment in time.

Experiencing more genuine smiles means making decisions to support our internal satisfaction. Shaking up the status quo of our lives, if need be, to create more space. When we decide we want more meaning, integrity and satisfaction, we make the necessary changes. During those transitions we often find speed bumps in the road; what we need to genuinely smile feels impossible, bad, scary, guilty, selfish, etc… If this enters your process, don’t fret; simply keep the end result in mind.

Along the journey of life, many of us will experience an empty feeling, when smiles are few and far between; those empty gaps can feel like small ravines or big grand canyons. When we notice those gaps, often, we fill them with tangible things – when in fact what we are searching is an experience to scratch an emotional itch. A desire to feel more congruent in our lives, that we are contributing, giving, receiving, playing, expressing, and being seen for who we are in the world. To satisfy those voids, strengthen your ability to regularly choose experiences that make you feel complete.

To smile more, and bask in being vibrantly alive, try asking yourself:

Where am I selling out on myself?

What thrills me?

What makes me laugh out loud?

Notice what comes to your mind when you ask these questions. Write the answers down, and leave the judgment out. Decide on one small action, relative to above, and take it in the next seven days. Make sure the action makes you feel lighter and it’s not another to-do item. Then call anyone you enjoy sharing your smile with, or email me, and declare your right to smile more today!



10 Reasons to Make Inner Peace a Priority

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Inner peace is the eternal quest for seekers everywhere. What used to be a rather vague and ephemeral concept has since been backed by modern science as a worthwhile quest towards accessing better health and happiness.

If you’re wary about the real-life importance of making peace of mind a priority, you’re not alone. The monkey mind is a cultural norm and, for most people, daily life consists of a constant stream of chaotic thoughts based in the past or the future.

Rarely do people make the space for presence and the experience of simply being. But when you do, you’ll be astonished how life can shift from tumultuous to serene, from judgemental to accepting. You can find inner peace even in the midst of external chaos.

1. Increased Intelligence

Perhaps one of the most popular benefits that inner peace can bring is the potential to grow your brain, literally. A study done at Harvard University showed that people who practiced mindfulness meditation (quick definition: accepting and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings without judgment) increased the thickness of their prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, planning, decision making, and regulating social behavior. Just eight weeks of regular meditation practice also shows increased gray matter in MRI scans.

Turns out that seeking peace helps you gain greater intelligence and a stronger, healthier brain.

2. Rewire Your Brain for Positive Feedback Loops

You can change your brain and it’s as easy as being aware of the transience of every experience. Most people go into a fight or flight stress state at least a few times a day, but when peace is your primary pathway you can change that mental habit.

This is because our unconscious thoughts and worries (aka the monkey mind) engage the amygdala, the reptilian part of our brains responsible for keeping us alive in dangerous situations. When the amygdala is engaged we experience anxiety, tension, faster heart rate, and poor digestion, all things modern humans are very familiar with.

When peace is the primary pathway you can consciously comfort your amygdala with the assurance that all is well and the world is NOT ending. Because our brains are plastic and changeable you can change the tendency to activate the amygdala and remain calm even in the midst of chaos.

3. Grow Your Compassion Muscle

The Dalai Lama says that “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” Yet often we’re too absorbed in our busy lives to experience wholehearted compassion for both ourselves and our fellow humans.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that the practice of meditation and the allowing and acceptance that comes along with it increases the internal experience of compassion. Another study showed this affects the brain even when you’re not actively engaged in meditation.

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