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The Power Of Knowing What Makes You Smile

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Three weeks ago, I went out on a date. We seemed to have a great deal in common so I was looking forward to meeting this new guy. After our brunch date, it was very apparent to me that this was "just another first date." As I walked home, I felt sad and quite discouraged with the dating scene.

By the time I got home, the irrational part of my brain had completely taken over. Thoughts of "what's the point of dating," "I'll never meet someone," and "this is hopeless," were running rampant in my mind.

I felt upset and let these thoughts consume me. Needless to say, the rest of the day was shot. How did a simple one hour brunch date turn into thoughts that were so extreme and far from the truth? Why did I let it get to that point and spiral so far downwards? Why didn't I stop myself from thinking so negatively?

A few days after the date, I decided to think about these questions. I also wanted to correct this vicious cycle and so I reflected on the everyday things that make me smile? What are some things I can do to tear myself away when I feel sad or defeated?

Last weekend, I had another first date. Needless to say, there was not going to be a second date. But this time, instead of feeling discouraged and wallowing in self-pity, I did something that I KNEW would make me smile.

I went to the market and the different food shops. Why? I have found that I smile when I'm at the market. I walk through the aisles, talk to the produce lady about how I can use eggplant in a different way to create a new dish, get the butchers advice on how I can make my succulent beef short ribs even tastier and ponder ideas with the lovely man at the delicatessen about which cheese would enhance my new cornbread recipe.

I completely shifted my mental mindset from negative to positive. Talking about food, looking at beautifully decorated cupcakes and just being around fresh ingredients has a positive effect on me -- I smile! When I got home, I was in a great mood and went about the rest of my day happily.

It is so easy to fall into a negative mind trap from even the smallest events. Say your boss at work decides not go ahead with an idea you have for your next project. That's okay! But has a seemingly normal event ever morphed into a completely different idea in your mind, such as: Boss doesn't like my idea, boss thinks I'm not contributing, boss doesn't like me, he doesn't want me on his team, boss is going to fire me.

Or, perhaps you go grocery shopping with your young daughter and because you don't give her the exact candy bar she wants, a temper tantrum occurs, ending with her saying a few "choice words." We all know this is normal but in the heat of the moment, you see your daughter upset, take those "choice words" to heart, question your parenting skills and end up concluding you are an unfit parent.

Next time that you feel your mind is going towards a negative path -- think about what makes you smile which will help put the negative thoughts in perspective. Take a walk, go to your favorite coffee shop around the corner, call your best friend or look at pictures of your dog on your phone.

Do whatever you can to smile, and keep your happy rational mindset!

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