Is There a Secret to Life?
Is there a secret to life? Most of us, if not all of us, have wondered from time to time if there is a secret to life. We have thought, talked, read and listened to others wondering the same thing. This is what I’ve come up with, three strategies.
Is there a secret to life? Let’s start with smiling. A genuine smile is contagious and compelling and goes a long way toward relieving tension between people. When we smile we usually are happy. Even when we are not at our best, smiling has the potential to change our mood instantly. There is a scientific explanation behind this phenomenon.
Some time ago, when I was preparing a program on stress reduction, I came across an article on the science of smiling. It was one of those articles where the author was unknown. “Smiles, frowns, and grimaces were once seen simply as expressions of feelings. Increasingly, scientists are realizing that facial expressions precede feelings and play a role in generating them.
How does this work? One theory suggests that when you use the “smile muscles” at the corners of your mouth, you change the direction of the blood flow inside your face in such a way that it causes the temperature of the blood to drop. This cooler blood enters the region of the brain known as the hypothalamus and causes the release of chemicals that can suppress pain and help a person to feel better. Cooling the blood may promote the release of endorphins, which, decreases pain and gives you a lift. In short, smiling instructs our brains to feel good.”
The implications are enormous. Increasingly medical science recognizes the effect that stress has on illness. Could smiling more be the key to health and wellness? The good news is that it doesn’t take any more time.
I’ve written about this next strategy on several occasions and there is a section in my new book, the Soul of Uncertainty that explores this concept in more detail. How you start your day sets the tone for the day. When you start your day with calmness and focus, there is a greater likelihood that your day will be less stressful. And the corollary is true—when you start your day anxious and in a hurry, you’ll hurry thru the rest of the day playing catch-up. You never do catch-up for what you are trying to catch is an illusion. At the end of the day, most of the work gets done, but you are exhausted because of the stress you felt throughout the day.
If you have been following the work that I do you know that I am a big believer in having a committed daily spiritual practice, which allows you to connect with your center. The exact form is up to you. There are two key words here—committed and practice. When you are committed to a daily practice, you’ll discover your center. When you don’t live from your center, the difficulties in your life seem much more challenging. It’s like driving your car without shock absorbers. Every bump in the road is magnified. Eventually, all you see are imperfections. And that’s the way our lives are when we lose connection with our center. The other word is practice. You need to do it. Some days it’s easier than others. I have been practicing meditation and yoga for years, yet I still experience resistance to practicing on some mornings. But I do anyway and usually feel good afterward.
The third insight is that life is cyclical. Just look at nature’s cycles. As I write this article in the middle of winter, I know that it’s not going to last forever and soon I’ll be able to begin planting again. Nature keeps on giving fruit from the trees that have been here for many years. In the fall, the leaves fall listlessly to the ground; by winter the trees will be barren again.
That’s the way our own lives are. Our circumstances and moods change from time to time which contributes to the cyclical nature of our lives. Some years are smoother than others. As we know life is full of uncertainty. When we integrate these insights and practices just discussed into our lives, we are more apt to embrace the inevitable changes on life’s journey as an opportunity, as an adventure, and as a possibility.
So there you have it, the secret to life. Try it on. See what happens. Smile and laugh more—take time in the morning for your morning program and notice your stress levels decreasing.
Perhaps you already have a practice that works for you. You’re on your way. Keep practicing. Let’s have a discussion as to what works for you. If you haven’t yet begun, it’s not too late. If you are curious to find out how I can make a difference in your life both personally and professionally I invite you to contact me at 415.453.5016 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to visit my website at http://www.inspirepossibility.com. I can also design a program or training that will support your organization in creating and sustaining a more fulfilling and productive culture.
“At times our own light goes out, and is reignited by the spark of another person.”
There is no better time than now. Your time is now. Don’t stay stuck in the comfort zone trap. You are the one you have been waiting for. Mark Susnow is a life coach and strategist. Contact him now for your free strategy session. Mark@inspirepossibility.com.
The official date for the release of the Soul of Uncertainty, a Fable for our Times, is Feb 1st. The initial feedback has been tremendous. See below about pre-ordering your copy.
Until next time,
When you preorder the Inspire Possibility Package, not only will you get a signed copy, you will also get a signed copy of Dancing on the River. And as an incentive, you will also get the CD of the live talk I gave at the SF Commonwealth Club on the 8 Principles of Change. You will receive Dancing on the River and the 8 Principles immediately and SOUL by the official release date.
ABOUT THE SOUL OF UNCERTAINTY—A Fable for our Times
A young man, Buddy, just setting out in life encounters a mysterious “modern day mystic” who promises to help him tap into magical powers inside himself to attain a sense of inner freedom, and his soul’s purpose. An unexpected ‘road trip’ of the soul begins and Buddy is never the same.
The INSPIRE POSSIBILITY blog is dedicated to personal and professional development. Mark Susnow, is an executive-life coach and strategist who inspires others to believe in themselves and to experience more fulfillment and success in their lives.