The rewards of humility and the fear of the LORD are wealth and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4
“Sometimes, your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” —Thich Nhat Hanh
How easy is it for you to smile? You may think that smiling is an inappropriate response when so much chaos and confusion is present in our lives. But that is the root of the problem, do not let external factors influence and control your state of happiness and well-being.
Smiling has great benefits: Each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.
For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress (3). Neuropeptides are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate. They facilitate messaging to the whole body when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, or excited. The feel-good neurotransmitters—dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin—are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well (4). This not only relaxes your body, but it can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
The endorphins also act as a natural pain reliever—100-percent organic and without the potential adverse side effects of synthetic concoctions (4). Finally, the serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant/mood lifter (5). Many of today’s pharmaceutical anti-depressants also influence the levels of serotonin in your brain, but with a smile, you again don’t have to worry about negative side effects—and you don’t need a prescription from your doctor. Riggio 2012 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/201206/there-s-magic-in-your-smile,
Who would have thought that the simple act of smiling could create homeostasis-balance in your mind and body?
When we feel that our options are limited, it is then that we need to pause and take solitary “me time.” Grab a pen and journal and write down your present emotional state of mind. Identify the external factors that are contributing to your distress; next, make two itemized lists: (1) Things I can Control or Change and (2) Things that I Cannot Control or Change. The obstacles that appear to be mountains are most likely roadblocks that you can effectively remove from your life story.
Let’s address the Number #1 cause of unhappiness and discontent, our financial status.
Getting control of your life always involves seeking help. Begin with researching credible online resources that do not ask for your personal information or attempt to convince you to enroll in their debt management programs. When your finances are overwhelming, it is impossible to enjoy peace of mind; making a financial budget planner is crucial to identifying and eliminating impulse spending. https://bettermoneyhabits.bankofamerica.com/en/saving-budgeting/creating-a-budget
If you have two to three closets of clothing and shoes, consider selling your excess online at mercari.com. Buyers are eagerly waiting to purchase quality items with the movement of their fingers. Remember, set the price to sell, yes; you will take a loss if you compare the original cost to the sale price; even so, it is better to sell low then to have items that you will never wear again collecting dust.
Love coffee, brew your own. If you are a Starbucks connoisseur, consider purchasing a coffee brewer, a bag of French Roast, and a beautiful cup. $700 a year is a lot of money to pay someone else for an accessible and achievable skill.
Speaking of things that we consume to make our tastebuds happy, restaurant food comprises a large part of eating up your budget. Choose one of your favorite dishes, google, and find a cooking video to learn how to fix a delicious meal. Watch the video a couple of times before the actual meal preparation. Taking baby steps to learn how to cook can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars, and offers the benefit of discovering and acquiring new creative skills.
Cut the parasitic relationship with your Debit/Credit cards. These cards are not your friends. Make a withdrawal and get cash, label a few envelopes for expenditures, and stick to your budget. Place the leftover money in two clear jars, one for paper money and one for coins. Monitor your progress every month, and you will be pleasantly surprised.
There are many other ways to curtail spending; however, unless there is a genuine desire to change, becoming financially savvy is only a wasted thought. Debt accumulation rarely happens overnight, and noticeable debt management and relief usually take a minimum of one year. Even so, embrace and celebrate every accomplishment you make toward becoming a happy person who is striving to live a simple, debt-free lifestyle.
Including God in our plan to overcome and improve our financial status gives us the reassurance that our Creator loves and cares for us. And that gives us reason to Smile!
I can (and I will) do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
God, we have identified our weakness of money mismanagement, and we are asking for your help and strength to become excellent stewards of the resources that you have blessed us with. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of Jesus. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.