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Smile: Lifestyle Practice

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There’s a not so subtle thing that happens when joy hits home. You smile. Not necessarily all the time, and not always a grin. But you can see it lingering behind the expression of anyone occupying that space.

Maybe it’s just in their eyes. But it’s there and its infectious. You can’t help but be changed by it. It’s easy and true and it can put you at ease. Coming across a smile can change everything about your day if you let it.

A smile is an extraordinary piece of communication. It’s the same in every language. It’s universal. You don’t have to know a person or where they’re from to get them to understand a smile. You can be in the farthest corners of the earth and your relationship can change with someone with a smile.

Your smile changes things. And not just for others. When you smile you release endorphins. You don’t have to wait to feel good to smile. You can start to feel good just by smiling. Try and fight it, it’s almost impossible.

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Your Practice This Week Is to Smile

What does that mean? Every day, you will earn your points for smiling at three people:

  • You can smile at friends, strangers, co-workers, employees, mail carriers, store clerks, lawyers, doctors, bus drivers, housekeepers, landlords, teachers, fellow commuters, or anyone else you come across during the day
  • Smile at 3 people you don’t normally smile at. If you smile at your spouse every morning, they don’t count towards your 3.
  • It doesn’t have to be someone you don’t see every day, just someone you don’t normally acknowledge with a smile.
  • It doesn’t have to be a cheshire cat grin, just a simple smile, corners of your mouth upturned, maybe even with a nod and a “hello.”

Being happy can make you smile, but what if smiling makes you happy? Even if it doesn’t feel true or easy, or even natural, putting a smile on your face makes a difference for you and it makes a difference for other people.


Photo Credit: “A smile a day keeps the pain and the doctor away” by Zitona Qatar – Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.