Brain

Smile (It's Magic)

Smile. 

I hate it when people tell me to smile.

Sometimes you just have resting face (may it be bitchy or not) and you just happen to be going through your day, walking to work, getting a coffee and someone shouts from the sidelines:  "AY! You dropped something!!!" dramatic pause "your smile..." 

Kill me. However...

They might be on to something.
Smiling is actually magic. 

That's right, pure magic. You can read it about here and more about it here.

tl;dr

Smiling is kinda like fake it till you make it. Just the act of painting a smile on your face sets off a whole bunch of cool stuff in your brain to actually make you think "whoa, I feel a bit better about this whole life thing" and acts to decrease stress. 

Added bonus, it appeals to other people in a genuine I'd like to get to know that safe looking person over there, kind of way. 

A while back and a few jobs ago I was none too pleased with my work situation. I felt like I was drowning and pretty stressed out. A co-worker came up to me and said "Don't let them take your smile." Those words stuck with me. 

Don't ever let 'em take your smile.

It is magic. 


A.

The Power of a Pull-up

The power is in persistence.


I dropped into my very first CrossFit gym over three years ago. CrossFit wasn't as big then as it is now and I wasn't sure what I was walking into. There was a series of "testing" exercises and eventually I was hanging from a pull-up bar with a band slung around the bar and my foot. The trainer was yelling PULLLLL!

So. I did. Nothing happened.
She went and got a bigger, thicker, industrial looking band, and I shoved my foot into it and again PULLLLLLED!

Nothing.

At this point the trainer called over another trainer, pointed at me and said "I think something is wrong with her." She didn't mean it as awful as it sounds. She just didn't get it. I was so very disconnected from everything in my back. I didn't know how to turn-on or "fire" anything.

Fast forward to now, three years later and...

Today I did my first pull-up from a dead hang.  And then I did two more.

WTF! I am not BROKEN!

It felt amazing. Ah.Maz.Ing.

The journey to get here... eh... not so amazing.  But I want to point out what worked and what didn't and why small consistent things are awesome.

1) You gotta chose the thing you want.
2) You gotta do it.
3) You gotta bare with the frustration.
4) You gotta do it.
5) You gotta do it.

When I say - you gotta chose the thing you want what I mean is there are SO MANY THINGS to get good at or better at or to work toward or to do every day. It can be overwhelming so Step 1 is to be selective. Choose your focus.

The doing it is obvious, but not easy. My trainer in Michigan who I see about three times a year ALWAYS tells me to just "work on it", "hang from the bar", "do negatives" - NEGATIVES for days!!! And I was like YEA I get that and I would do that, but then I'd see him in a few months and not have a ton of progress.

Because I'd get distracted.
Because the gains were small.
Because it was frustrating.

BUT THEN. Something simple happened. My trainer here in Seattle was doing her own pull-up progression a basic ladder  designed by Pavel. There is nothing magic in this (well there kinda is, but that isn't the point) there IS magic in me WRITING IT DOWN and putting it near my pull-up bar.

REVOLUTIONARY.

I wrote the whole thing out on stickies and hung a pen. This simple act kept me compliant, focused, and consistent.

And it worked.

What can you break down, write down, and achieve?

You are all gems.

A.

Build a habit, change your life

I am a big fan of habits.  Small shifts for lasting change = my jam. Time goes by too fast and it is easy to get lost and not accomplish what you set out to do.

This is why a habit is a beautiful thing.

Once it is established it takes no willpower (a valuable resource) to complete.

The most impactful habit I built in 2013 was a practice around gratitude.  Gratitude is cool because it helps you look at the world differently.  I think it gives me space to be less reactive, to be able to handle stress better, and to enjoy life more.

All it took was a few minutes a day.

I put a journal and pen on my dresser right next to my bed.  Every night before I went to bed I wrote down 3 things I was grateful for - they could be big or small, general or specific, it didn't matter.  The point was that I did it, that I wrote it down, that I was consistent.  I liked doing it at night because even if I had a crappy day I could find something that went right like a beautiful sky - that I was breathing - my internet connection - anything really.

Try it out, see if you notice a change.  A habit doesn't need to be big to be effective, it just needs to be consistent.