Be an encourager

There’s a guy in the bible called BARNABAS – he had a great reputation. Why? Because he was a great encourager.

To encourage someone us to give them strength and courage. It is to lift them up.

How can we encourage those around us?

Here’s three ideas:

1. Pray for them

2. Help them practically

3. Give them your time and positive words

What are some other ways can we be great encouragers?

013 Joy can be found intentionally

As I walked my girls to school this morning I posed the question to my oldest (whose smile was upside down):

“What is the one thing you can do today that will make you feel joy?”

pexels-photo-618669.jpegShe pondered the thought and smiled as she said slowly “I don’t know”. I could see a few things happening within her.

  1. She began to think about it.
  2. As she began to think about what might make her happy something on the inside released a smile on the outside!

As we think about things that make us happy or give us joy it releases something within us that can lead us to a more joyful place. I don’t understand the psychology of this, but I do understand that when we think about the stuff that makes us happy, or we consider how we can be more intentionally happy, it leads us closer to being happy of experiencing moments of joy.

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So for you today, will you intentionally step into a joyful moment or a happy space and answer…

“What is the one thing you can do today that will make you feel joy?”

As you seek joy in your life may you experience happiness in abundance and joy in all its fullness.

This blog is part of a series of blogs called #101joys. I aim to eventually write 101 short pieces related to seeking joy in our lives. Look for the others using the #101joys hashtag

006 Smile

I’ve been looking forward to writing this one because I love to smile – I always have. I’m a bit like Will Ferrell in Elf:

I like smiling, smiling is my favourite

Even when I am not happy I always try to keep smiling. When I was 12 years old there was a lady called Gina who always called me ‘Little Smiler’ when she saw me. I’m in my forties now and I still smile most of the time.

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Now I’m not a naive person – sometimes life doesn’t give us much to smile about. Sometimes life gives us much to frown about, but that doesn’t mean we have to frown and stay down. We can help ourselves! So why smile?

Have you ever seen an unhappy dolphin?

Smiling might just make you feel happier

Like I said, I love to smile. Smiling actually makes me feel happier, and I’m not the only one. It can work for you too. Did you know that the act of smiling releases endorphins into your body which have the effect of making us feel happier? It’s true. Smiling does make us happier. These endorphins even help to decrease the feelings of stress that we all experience because when endorphins increase the chemical called cortisol (which is linked with increased stress levels) decreases.

dolphin smile

Cortisol is such a heavy word – it sounds oh so serious, doesn’t it?!

The word endorphin has nothing to do with sea life but I always imagine dolphins when I hear it. Dolphins are such happy laughing creatures. Have you ever seen an unhappy dolphin?! They really cheer me up! They make me smile too. Anyway, back to the point…

I love the section in Elisabeth Gilbert’s Eat Love Pray when the wise old man Ketut tells Lis to practice smiling:

Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.

I never really got that till recently: What Ketut is saying is this: Learn to smile from the inside out. Start on the outside with the physical action of raising your lips heavenward and just smile. Practice your smile – see how it feels. Then, keep smiling (not like a crazy person) and find the natural beauty of your very own personalised smile. Eventually we don’t smile with only our mouths – we eventually smile with our whole face. It might not be long before your body language is smiling too – I wonder if this is what makes The Mona Lisa so beautiful – perhaps she is smiling from her liver!

How does seeing a smile make you feel?

I don’t know about you, but I love to see other people smile. Again, this really cheers me up. I love to see happy people! When I feel down in the dumps and my soul is singing the blues and I see a genuine smile it lifts me up tremendously.

Smiling is highly contagious!!!

Are you down today? Go looking for smiles! If you are travelling to work: look out for smiling people and let their facial gymnastics cheer you up.

Go looking for smiles!

cat smile

Perhaps your smile can make a difference in someone else’s life today. Have a great day and have a lovely smile.

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