I haven’t been getting enough sleep. I’ve been going to bed later and waking up earlier. I’ve been dreaming about work projects and waking up thinking about my checklist. I even woke myself (and my husband) up the other night when I sat up and screamed (most likely about something work related).
One of the effects this lack of sleep has had on me is that I wake up grumpy. Really grumpy. I wake up thinking about how everything that I have to do is taking me away from the one thing that I long to do: sleep.
And I truly don’t want to go through life in this way. I don’t want to be among the many, many sweet souls who are walking through life in a daze because they are so overworked and so overstimulated and so over it all that they just can’t imagine doing anything more than putting one foot in front of the other in order to just make it through another day.
I want to feel joyful again. I want to embrace my life again. I want to get a full night’s sleep again.
This morning, I woke up in the grumpiest mood yet. My body didn’t want me to get out of bed, but my brain was already awake and reminding me of all that I needed to do. “No time to sleep,” it told me. “There’s just too much to do.”
So I got up and staggered out of the bedroom and into the day ahead.
Somewhere in the midst of this fog of sleepiness – somewhere between the bedroom and the bathroom – I heard a voice inside that said:
“What if you smiled more?”
In a perfect world, I would say that it stopped me in my tracks – that I immediately heeded this wisdom, put on a big fat smile, did a little dance around the house, and embraced the day with open arms.
That’s not exactly what happened. In fact, that’s not even close to what happened.
I continued for the next couple of hours in my grumpy state. I continued to think about all that I needed to do and how there just wasn’t enough time for it. I continued to worry that I was just one person and that I had more on my plate than one person could handle. I continued to walk around in a bad, bad mood.
And then, while in the shower, I heard this voice loud and clear again with the same message:
“What if you smiled more?”
This time, I listened. I didn’t act on it right away, but I listened. And I thought about it. What if I did smile more? How would my day change? How would my mood change? How would my life change?
I’ve read studies before where participants were asked to smile, and their moods instantly improved. Something about the physiological response that the upward face muscles signal to the brain – causing it to react to happiness – actually causes you to feel happy.
So I tried it. It felt ridiculous to smile when I was in such a bad mood, but I did it.
I smiled. And I smiled some more. And some more.
And my bad mood began to shift. My grumpiness began to dissipate.
Yes, I was still tired. And yes, I still had a mountain of tasks ahead of me.
But I was happier. I was more joyful. I felt lighter.
All because of a smile.
What I found is that my “Okay, fine, I’ll try this, but I don’t have to like it” smile quickly turned into a genuine, “I really have so much to be grateful for in this moment” smile. My mood elevated, and my perspective shifted.
It’s so amazing how something so seemingly small as a smile can turn our entire life around.
I definitely think that’s something to smile about.
Jodi Chapman is a bestselling author, an award-winning blogger, and a soulful community builder. She lives her life with love and faith in the driver’s seat, and she hopes to leave a trail of inspiration wherever she goes. She believes that we each have the ability to hear our soul’s whisper and create our best lives. She would love to connect with you!