On my long run on Saturday, one thing I was determined to do was to make it a good run. I was going to make sure that I enjoyed it and that I finished with the desire to go do the run all over again. One thing I decided to do periodically in order to help this goal along was to smile. Not just a small grin, but a teeth-bearing, real smile.
You’ve probably heard the term “fake it til you make it”. I don’t think of this as being “fake”. I think of it as practicing a good behavior until it becomes habit. I wanted to smile until I was truly happy to be out on that long run. While I did wait until there weren’t lots of cars around each time I did it (yeah… I was kind of embarrassed and I do care what people think of me. I know I shouldn’t but that’s something I’m still working on), every time I smiled and thought about being happy to be there, I genuinely was. I don’t think it was just the smile of course, but it was my active attempt to be positive and make the choice to be happy. Just the choice to have a good attitude can go such a long way.
We know that smiling has both psychological and physiological effects. I found this list of “Reasons to Smile” and I wanted to share some of my favorites:
- Smiling changes our mood
- Smiling relieves stress
- Smiling boost the immune system
- Smiling lowers your blood pressure
- Smiling releases endorphins (we could all use more of these during runs/races!!)
- Smiling helps you stay positive
Smiling is so powerful. This summer at my last job, I would give a short welcome each day to the program participants followed by a short speech from another individual on our staff. He would start his part of the presentation by making them do “the swish”. He would have them swish their hand across their face in a circular motion and say the word “swish” and end with a smile. The effect on the room was immediate. The room literally brightened and you could see people who were anxious relax, people who didn’t want to be there become more open and the place just felt friendlier. It was incredible and it loved it every single time. Try it. You’ll love it.
A smile is such a simple thing that we can use to our advantage for our own good. Yes, we’re being a little selfish here!
So if you’re out on a hard run – try smiling
If you’re frustrated at work – try smiling
If the kids are driving you crazy and you’re counting down the days until school starts again – try smiling
If you just want to feel a little bit better about life – try smiling
Life (and running) is hard enough as it is. Don’t forget to smile!
What are your tactics for making it through a hard run? (Cori had some great suggestions at Olive to Run yesterday)
What are you smiling about today?