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by Jill Rumbley-Beam

We all love to give gifts, right? I w

as thinking today about what is the one gift you can give to someone that will cost you nothing? It is a smile! Di you know it takes 43 muscles in your face to smile on any given moment. It only takes 11 to frown. Smiling is contagious. If you smile at someone, nine times out of ten, they are going to smile back. It comforts the weary and it gladdens the sad. It can console those in trouble and it can cheer the faint of heart. I once read that men who smile a lot get bald sooner. Well, ladies, I do not know about you, but I’d rather have a bald man who smiles a lot than a grouch with a big wad of hair!

If you know someone who is having a bad day, you should always carry a smile survival kit. These items will always make a person feel better about life and is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face. A toothpick, to remind you to pick out the good qualities in others, a rubber band, to remind us too always be flexible. Change is inevitable. I always have said that the only person that likes change is a baby with a wet diaper. Carry a band aid to remind us not to hurt feelings. You need a pencil so you can write down your blessings every day. A piece of chewing gum is a must to remind you to stick with the things you need to accomplish. You need a mint of some sort to remind people that they are worth a mint to you! Put a candy kiss in that survival kit to remind you to give someone a hug and finally, carry a tea bac to help you or someone else to relax!

When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you! It’s that song we all know but smiling is going to eventually lead to humor and laughter! My mom programmed my brother and I to be happy people. She always told us that happy people attract other happy people. I remember my mom’s mother told me that there are some miserable people in the world and their philosophy of life is, “I’m miserable, unless I’m miserable”! She said stay clear of those people because they will bring you down.

Regarding humor in relationships, humor connects us to others. Positive sounds such as laughter or a triumphant, “woo hoo”, can trigger a response in any listener’s brain. Humor an also diffuse conflict.

It is a great equalizer! Humor also builds trust and it also encourages people to work together!

Did you know that a good belly laugh will help lower blood pressure! Preschool children laugh or smile 400 times a day. That decreases to fifteen laughs a day by age 35. I even read that if you try humor in the workplace, there might be a 21% decrease in staff turnover and 35% in Friday absenteeism.

Laughter plays a role in mating. I truly believe the reason I married my husband is I was attracted to his sense of humor not to say that those tight-fitting Wrangler jeans he wore wasn’t a factor but we enjoy laughing together.

Some researchers have actually said that laughing 100 times a day can give you the same workout as 15 minutes on an exercise bike. The average adult laughs only 17 times a day!

Here’s 10 tips for creating opportunities to laugh:

• Watch funny television shows, like the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges reruns.

• Listen to comedy while driving.

• Read comic authors.

• See out funny people.

• Spend little time with boring people.

• Bring humor into your conversations.

• Make a habit of telling one joke per day, even if you have to write it down, like I do.

• At a party, volunteer to be the stand-up comedian.

• Don’t appear serious or boring.

Humor is going to shift your perspective in life. Laughter can add joy to your life! It’s going to keep you positive; you’ll have an optimistic outlook through even those difficult situations and disappointments we encounter as we go through life!

There’s a song in the musical, Mary Poppins, titled, “ I Love to Laugh” and I truly do and I hope you will laugh along with me!

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