Being nice is free: the one trick that will change your experience of this time

In this time of angst, fear and shaming, there’s something no one will tell you. You can upgrade your day in a heartbeat, with this one simple trick.

I’ve had this post on my heart for a while.

As I shared in my Instagram Stories, I haven’t wanted to post lately because the world has been in turmoil.

Whether on social media or in the aisles of Publix, there is a ton of nastiness out there right now. And I just haven’t wanted to add to the noise.

A big part of that is how people are treating each other.

There’s so much fear. There’s so much anxiety. There’s so much name-calling and animosity.

And it’s not just from behind their computer screens. It’s happening in real freaking life! (Now that’s really scary. *wink*)

You’ve seen the videos. In the grocery store, at a stoplight, at church, at the beach.

It seems nowhere is exempt from a potential negative confrontation that stems from two strangers with conflicting views about what’s going on in our world right now.

Even if you don’t want the argument, it might find you.

You may have found yourself feeling anxious when you leave the house. It might be because what’s already a difficult task, like taking kids to the grocery store, has started to feel like an almost insurmountable one.

What if I don’t wear my mask right? What if I walk the wrong way down the wrong aisle? What if I get too close to someone? What if my kid has to go pee?

In addition to the usual momplications (get it? *wink*), we now have a whole other set of rules covering the simplest of outings.

Now, as much as I’d love to, I’m not going to get into my personal views on any of that. Like I said, there’s a lot of noise out there, and I don’t want to add to it.

My goal is that this is a safe place for you. A place where you can come to get away from it all, and have a few moments to read and be inspired and encouraged. To get some tools to help you cope with this time.

To read the words that might be balm to your tired, exhausted, worried soul.

Well, I have some good news.

I’ve come up with a simple trick to make my day better during this time.

It started as an experiment on my twice-a-week runs.

Every time I’d encounter someone, I noticed most them seemed worried, afraid, annoyed, frustrated, mad or [fill in blank with a negative emotion].

And then I had an idea.

What if I smiled at every single person I see?

And I don’t mean a half smile.

Or a smile when you think you’re smiling, but if you looked in the mirror you really still just have RBF (resting b*tch face for those in the back, #helloKateChastain #ifyouknowyouknow).

Not a smirk. Not a grin.

A full-on, teeth out, cheesy-as-hell smile.

Since I’m only passing these people for about one to 2 seconds, I figured I really needed to go for it.

Okay, try it out.

Look in the mirror and smile. Then scoot your lips up so high they are getting stuck on your teeth as they go up.

That is the smile we need in this time.

All teeth. All positivity. All love.

So I tried it.

About a second before they see me, I smiled the biggest, most exaggerated, lips-off-the-teeth (but authentic) smile. As if they were literally the best thing I’d seen all day.

And then I would say “GOOD MORNING!” with such enthusiasm that they believed that I was really having the best morning of my life, simply by passing them on the road.

GUESS WHAT.

Everyone smiles back.

I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now, and I can tell you with assurance that this returns a smile every single time.

And you know what’s crazy about seeing a smile? It makes me feel good too. (By the way, there is lots of science to back that up. Even fake smiling can increase your happiness and reduce stress because the act of grinning ‘tricks’ the brain into thinking that you’re happy which in turn spurs actual real happiness.)

Smiling works.

Smiles multiply.

Of course, you could quip that the people I pass think I’m a crazy lady, and that is funny for sure.

But the truth is, I know in my heart that isn’t why they smile back.

I know that people just need friendliness and love and someone to show grace to them for no reason at all.

I know that this is a time when people feel betrayed and hurt and angry, and sometimes seeing a cheesy grin that tells them they are the best part of this crazy stranger’s day is the warmest act they will experience all week.

It doesn’t have to be on your walks or runs. It can be the woman giving you side-eye at Target. It can be the server on your dinner out. It can be your postal carrier, your neighbor as they’re taking out the trash.

The great thing about a smile is it’s free.

And we all have one to give.

Try it, and let me know how it works for you.

While you’re here, I’d love if you’d sign up to join my email subscriber list so you never miss a post! And don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram.

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