17 Ways to Add "Small Smiles" to Your Life
Hello and welcome back my friend!
As I write this, my husband and I are slowly making our way towards Florida. We decided to drive through the night, so here I am at 1:30 AM, blogging away! Other than a sore backside, I've really enjoyed this road trip. But it's time for our Friday Listicle, and I'm thrilled to be here.
I am also happy to report to you all that I feel like I've overcome my recent emotional "hump." I think whenever I begin struggling in life, I always begin looking for ways to infuse more joy and smiles into my life. As I've pondered this issue, I've come to believe that the joy in our lives can be greatly enhanced by something that I like to call "Small Smiles."
Small smiles are different from the ones that come from seeing a long lost friend, winning a competition, or achieving our goals. Small smiles aren't extremely memorable or life-changing, but they DO matter.
Small smiles arrive when you have a good hair day, or when you get a small discount on your regular coffeeshop order. These smiles aren't momentous or incredible, but they DO add to the overall joy of life.
Today, I wanted to write our listicle about all the ways we can begin adding more "small smiles" to our days.
1. Wear your favorite smell
This is one of my FAVORITE life hacks ever. Apply a small amount of Vaseline or petroleum jelly to your wrists, and spray the area with your favorite scent. As you go about your day, take a minute to pause and take a sniff of your favorite smell. It will ALWAYS make you happy.
Also, don't be ashamed of the smell you choose! I always have a good dash of "Winter Candy Apple" on my body, even though Christmas was like four months ago LOL!
2. Enjoy the sky
I know this one sounds really weird, but bear with me. So, a fun fact about Mrs. Midwest is that my favorite "feature" of Creation is the sky. I cannot get enough of looking at the clouds, stars, the moon, sunrises, sunsets, or chunky and thunderous rain clouds.
I think all humans need to take time to reconnect with nature: it's good to be reminded of how tiny we are, and how gorgeous the world is. So maybe your version of "enjoying the sky" is actually taking a walk by a river or buying a bouquet of flowers. Whatever it is, just take some time to get in touch with the world.
3. Dream about your FUTURE
Whenever I think about the names of my nonexistent future children, or the places I want to travel, I can't help but smile. It can be unhealthy to live exclusively in the future, BUT, a nice dreaming session can be truly uplifting. Dreaming about the future gives us hope, excitement, and even a little bit of motivation. Take time to dream, no matter how crazy the dream is.
4. Wear your FAVORITE outfit
Alright friends, this is pretty obvious, but wearing our favorite clothing will often make us smile! Do you remember when you were a kid, and your mom could NOT stop you from wearing the same purple shorts every day for a week? Well, even though we're adults, it can still be whimsical and fun to have a "favorite" outfit. Don't worry about it being stylish or trendy: just make sure you feel happy in it.
5. Sit on the floor and play with your dog... or cat... or fish?
Okay, maybe I'm just really spoiled because every time I get anywhere close to sitting on the ground.. .think, "bending down to tie my shoe," my dog begins to freak out and celebrate the fact that I'm coming down to her level. She's just so awesome and excited every time I'm showing signs of "play."
Whenever I need some joy, I plop down on the ground and my dog comes running. I would highly recommend that if you have a pet, or you know someone who has a pet, take time to enjoy those amazing emotional and mental benefits.
6. Send a meme to your "person"
I have a friend who routinely sends me memes, just to reach out and connect. It ALWAYS brings a small smile to my face. So, instead of waiting around for other people to send you memes, try sending some to your friends, husband, or sister. Enjoy all the guaranteed small smiles to come.
7. Make small talk with a cashier
Even when I'm grumpy, it can be really life-giving to chat with people when I'm going about my errands. Avoiding social interactions always makes me grumpier. A small chat, even about the weather can truly bring a small smile to our face.
8. Clean your kitchen
It wouldn't be a Mrs. Midwest blog post without a call to clean our kitchens! Whenever I look down at an empty sink, I can't help but feel a small smile coming up on my face. Firstly, it's very freeing to get the chores done, but secondly, it always makes me feel like I've accomplished something with my life!
Indulging in my routines and enjoying the mundanity of life always makes me smile. It's important to realize that funny, happy, or sweet things aren't the only things that will make us smile. Accomplishing things and putting things into order will ALSO make us smile.
9. Be bold in ONE area
This one will be different for everyone. I truly think that many of us are constantly walking around with something on our minds that we're avoiding. Today, I encourage you to take a step towards boldness in that area: for me, this often means dealing with a stack of papers, or cleaning out my DM's.
Being bold doesn't only apply to kissing someone, standing up for yourself, or asking for a promotion: it applies to the boring parts of life too. Take charge, be bold, and enjoy the smiles.
10. Change your phone background
A good phone clean-out does WONDERS for the soul. Now, I need to do this more than anyone... you're talking to "Miss 8 Unopened Voicemails in My Inbox." But in the meantime, I think it can be really good to just switch up our phone backgrounds to something that will give us a small smile.
For awhile, my phone background was a fantasy painting of a medieval castle and waterfall. It was kind of nerdy looking, but honestly, we can't help what makes us smile!
11. Be weird
I was a really weird kid: I was completely socially aware, BUT I had a strange sense of humor. I truly feel like that childhood weirdness lingers just beneath the surface of my personality.
There is just something about life that is so absolutely WEIRD to me. Seriously, Life is wacky. It's unpredictable, crazy, and weird. I say that we embrace this weirdness, and indulge our unique qualities and unpredictable traits. Don't spend your life trying to fit in: embrace the weird, and enjoy the small smiles that follow.
12. Switch up your commute
I think it's easy to get stuck in our routines. I think life can feel boring and mundane when we fail to seek out adventure and explore the world right in front of us. Maybe tomorrow, on the way home, try to take the long way, or stop to get a coffee. Take a different way home and try to mix up your routine. Even a small glimpse of something new can be enough to ignite a small smile.
13. Go for a walk
I know, I know... EVERY blog suggests this. But I have to say friend, if everyone is giving this advice, it might be because it's THE best advice. Take a page from Elizabeth Bennett's book (LOL) and learn to take a walk. I do this when I need to get my heart pumping, and it ALWAYS makes me smile. It's just nice to get moving and go on an adventure.
14. Wrap up in a HUGE blanket
I seriously think that a good "cocoon session" is something that everyone needs to do once in awhile. There's something so comforting and calming about wrapping up in cozy blanket. Maybe it takes us all back to the comfort of the womb LOL.
Smiles can happen during moments of connection, accomplishment, and peace, and cocooning DEFINITELY helps us achieve peace. Bonus points? Add a cup of tea!
15. Spend time baking
Baking brings confidence, AND sugar highs. It is the perfect combination to help us achieve the small smile.
16. Embrace it when "things go wrong"
I have a loooooooooot of weaknesses. I do. I'm fearful, needy, lazy, and so much more. BUT, I do have one thing going for me: I have always been able to embrace the mistakes in life. Whenever something doesn't work out, I always like to say that it's because it "wasn't meant to be." I think I find a lot of joy and peace in the idea that everything is under control and that God is workin on my behalf, even when things go wrong.
Embracing the weird is just like embracing the mistakes. I think that when we flip trouble on its head, we can really begin to enjoy life and smile.
17. Sing out loud
This is my final piece of advice: I really find a lot of joy in the act of singing loudly in my car to old songs. There's something very positive about releasing our voices and emotions. Even the nostalgia of music from our youth can really bring about a lot of smiles! So yes, please blast that T-Swift, and sing OUT LOUD!
Thank you so much for reading friends! I think I'm going to go curl up in the backseat of the car and try to sleep. I hope you enjoy your Friday and always try to seek out the joyful side of life.