What's A Smile Got To Do With It?

What's A Smile Got To Do With It?

Surprisingly, the answer is: a lot.
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Have you ever been walking down the street and been so engrossed in a rather upsetting thought in your mind that you've had a perpetually distraught look on your face? Have you ever seen anyone else like this? How did that make you feel? Think about the moments when you've seen someone smiling. Even if it's just to them. How did they make you feel?

Feelings are of course very subjective, but generally people model behavior. You see someone smiling and laughing, and you don't have a reason not to join in, so you smile to yourself too. People's positivity rubs off on you. In the same way, when someone is in a bad mood, it doesn't take much for you to have your mood spoiled either.

How many times have you walked down the street and passed by someone you know, and you've exchanged a smile and a "Hey!"? How did that make you feel? How many times has someone passed you by and not acknowledged you, and how did that make you feel? These questions may seem incredibly arbitrary, but they're designed to illustrate how important it is to pay attention to the people around you and the way you're presenting yourself.

Even just passing by smiling or frowning strangers can make you feel differently, however subconscious or subtle the feeling is. I've tried to adopt the principle in life to always be a smiling persona, no matter where I'm passing by, I should always find myself smiling. Or at the very least, not frowning.

A simple smile goes a long, long way, as we've all heard. In fact, some studies have shown that a simple smile, even shared among strangers, makes people feel as though they already know each other. The science behind that theory has to do with our ancient ancestors, where human survival depended on groups, so humans would smile as a way to show friendliness to one another. The tiny smile that you see on passer-by's faces?

That actually has some real scientific reasoning, called subliminal priming, that backs up why you feel more positive or happier. Mirroring has been researched too; people mimic what they see. Even if it's just for a fleeting second, you mimic the smiles that you see in a crowd of people.

Think about how many times you've been served coffee by someone with a smile. A real smile, not a fake, half-smile that just made you feel uncomfortable. Those experiences usually leave you with the best customer satisfaction, right? Employers actually work that kind of training into their customer service models, for this exact reason. Seeing a smile makes you smile, and smiles mean you're happy.

So, all in all, spreading positivity can be as simple as putting a smile on your face when walking down the street.

Cover Image Credit: Maya Thomas

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Your Confidence Will Soar If You Adopt These 15 Habits

Everyone has insecurities, don't let them rule you
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It is just easier to live life when you are confident. Being insecure takes so much energy that could be spent doing something productive, like actually getting something to eat alone rather than waiting around for someone to go with you.

Not to mention, we all know that confidence makes everyone more attractive. Now if you are not super confident, don't worry, that does not mean you are automatically ugly, there is just something alluring about a confident person.

Now, I am no model for confidence, but there are a few things that I am trying to do or have done that helps exponentially. If you struggle with confidence these few things can help boost you in the right direction, and you will be rocking your world in no time!

1. Chin/Head up

If you keep your chin up and head out, it shows that you are comfortable with who you are and you aren't afraid for people to see your face. Most confidence radiates from the face and if you hide your face it is easy to assume that you are uncomfortable in your own skin, WHICH YOU SHOULDN'T BE!

2. Make purposeful hand movements

I am definitely guilty of this one ALL THE TIME... but if you have constant flourishing hand movements, people may think you don't know what you are talking about or are not confident in what you are saying.

But if you have precise and concise hand movements there are fewer distractions from what you are saying and people believe and want to hear what you have to say!

3. Eye contact

Eyes are the place of vulnerability as they are known as the windows to the soul, and looking straight at someone directly in the eyes shows that you have nothing to hide. You have accepted everything about yourself and are not afraid if people can see it. It takes time I know, but I think this one is most important!

4. Actually, listen to other people

The one way to sound confident is to listen to what others are actually saying so in turn you can reply with something substantial and you don't have to sit there in awkward silence.

Even if you don't really know what to say if you listen, you can at least make something up!

5. Stand up straight

One of the main insecurities among teenagers, young adults (and even some full-grown adults) is their body. We don't know how to hold ourselves, and we think we look awkward just by standing there and we second guess every movement.

Tall people have it bad because they feel TOO tall and slouch to cover up their height, but good posture oozes confidence. ROck your body cause no one actually cares what you look like if you love yourself!

6. Try not to think about other people

Insecurities are born from us obsessing over what other people think about us, which is ridiculous. Over 75% percent of individuals we encounter in our lives we only see ONCE, so who cares what they think??

This can start with you not judging other people. I know this isn't particularly easy either, but if you practice with intention, soon you won't even notice other people and you will stop comparing yourself to others!

7. Hygiene

I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory; If you feel pretty and clean then it makes it so much easier to be comfortable with yourself. Anyway, people don't really like to be around someone who smells, so don't be that person.

8. Exercise

I really am not the model for success here, but I do notice that when I go to the gym I just feel better, mentally and physically. Even if you can't see results, the endorphins released during a workout reduce stress and just help you feel happier with yourself!

So even if you just go every once and a while (like me) it will improve your confidence energy exponentially.

9. Mirror the other person

When talking to other people, it is proven that if you mirror their actions and laughs, they will feel more comfortable around you, and nothing can put you more at ease and confident than everyone else liking you!

Obviously still be yourself, but a laugh here and then, even if you don't think what they are saying is funny, goes a long way!

10. Smile

I don't know about you, but I am always more inclined to be around people who smile a lot. Sometimes it can get creepy, yes, but smiles are associated with positivity and happiness. No one wants to hang around a negative Nelly. So smile more, you will appear more approachable and your confidence will soar!

11. Dress the way you want to dress

If you love what you are wearing and you are comfortable, it is a reflection of how comfortable you are in your skin, because really clothes are just a second skin.

This can go along with not caring about what other people think. Don't dress to follow trends or impress anyone, if you want to wear a crown and cape that will definitely show confidence.

12. Don't cross your arms

If you cross your arms it signifies to others a very closed off and stand-offish personality. If you keep your arms uncrossed your body language is much more inviting. Also, people who cross their arms a lot are generally more unhappy with life in general, which is no way to live.

Not to mention this also helps with bettering your posture!

13. Don't fidget

Fidgeting is the biggest give away of insecurities. JUST SIT STILL (or stand still whatever). I can assure you that no one notices how you stand or sit, and fidgeting will only draw more attention to it, so just stop moving.

When someone fidgets, it rubs off and then others feel uncomfortable for you. Keep your hands to your side and stand still, with direct eye contact, does that not scream confidence?

14. Keep your hands out of your pockets

If you constantly have your hands in your pockets, it reflects that you have something to hide. Obviously, we don't want everyone to know our deepest, darkest secrets, but you want to exhibit confidence so people feel open to maybe being close enough to one day hear those secrets.

15. Try to avoid "um", "uh" and "like"

Confidence comes from believing in what you say and being strong with the statements you make, but if you say "um" after every two words, no one is going to take you seriously. Try to think before you speak, that way you won't include those filler words and people will again want to hear what you have to say and believe in your confidence.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

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I'm Not Vegan, And I Am Tired Of Being Shamed For My Decision

Veganism isn't right for everyone, so find the diet that works best for you.
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Raise your hand if you have watched the documentary "What the Health." Yes, the Netflix documentary which seems to be scaring the public into going Vegan. Truthfully, I have not seen the film, partially because I know veganism is not the correct diet for me, and because I have no intention of ever going vegan (sorry my furry friends). In fact, I opt to call myself an "ethical omnivore". This means I eat both vegetables and meat, but the meat I consume is locally sourced and free range.

I want to make it clear that I am not pushing one diet over another with this article or saying that "What the Health" makes unjust claims. I am, however, saying that this article and film should inspire you to search for the diet that is right for you and your individual needs.

When I was nine years old, my parents and I took a road trip throughout the west while listening to "The Omnivores Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. Pollan explains that omnivores face the problem of deciding what to eat for their next meal. Instead of relying on their own preferences and desires, we focus on expert opinion, advertising, and diet books. Pollan called this “the anxiety of eating.” He challenges his readers to consider the ramifications of the food which we are consuming, like our dependency on corn or what latest diet trends do to our health.

Being health conscious is not a new trend for me. Since I have food allergies, I’ve been aware that clean eating is imperative for healthy living my whole life. This mindset, however, seems to have peaked the public’s general interest within the past few years, causing a rise in menu markings for “Gluten-free”, “Dairy Free”, “Vegan”, “Vegetarian”, or allergy-safe food in restaurants. I am not complaining, I am however promoting it is important to know what food works best for your body and what it needs to function.

My mom did not consume red meat for 25 years. However, when she turned 45, her body needed the stronger animal protein. After five years, she no longer needed it and stopped eating it. I need to consume meat, whether it be chicken, turkey, or fish or my body feels fatigued and lethargic. You need to listen to what your body tells you; listen to the way it reacts after consuming certain foods.

Although I love indulging in a vegan dessert delicacy, they are often made with nuts, garbanzo beans, or avocado. Within a matter of minutes, I look like I am six months pregnant since my body cannot easily digest legumes. With this in mind, I understand that a vegan diet, which consists mostly of legumes, is not right for my body.

I have asked some of my vegan friends what sparked their dietary and lifestyle changes. Answers range anywhere from, “I wanted to be healthier” to “I am trying to lower my carbon footprint” and even “I do not feel good when I consume meat.” It is important to listen to your body. You may feel a burning desire to adopt a vegan lifestyle to save our furry friends, but your body may not agree with that decision, causing drastic weight gain. Or, veganism could be the best thing for you.

When changing your diet, it is important to consult a medical practitioner to ensure you are going about the process in the right way and that it is the optimal change for you. No, watching a documentary or reading one website is not enough. If you are preparing to make a significant lifestyle change, you need to do it correctly. Having grown up in a household that promotes healthy eating and listening to your inner voice, I understand not to jump on the newest food trend. You need to listen to your own body; to avoid being led astray.

Cover Image Credit: Gardie Design & Social Media Marketing

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