Smile

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Some people say that we use more muscles to frown rather than smile. Some people say the exact opposite. Either way I’d say a smile is always the better option. A smile in extreme cases can save people’s lives. A smile can not only brighten another person’s day, but it can also brighten yours. Yes, the picture of my dog (Pjakkur) was put up there in hopes of making you crack a smile!

The importance of smiling is often over-looked in our society that chooses to be rather non-expresive from what I’ve observed. Appearing aloof or non-chalant seems to be trending these days so we can portray ourselves as cool. That’s not cool. Why would we choose to be expressionless and try to demonstrate lack of emotion when we are very emotional beings. Why should we try to suffocate our emotions, especially the postive ones, by sealing them in an air-tight jar and putting them up on a shelf somewhere far back in our heads.

I remember reading an article that says even forcing a smile produces endorphines causing your mood to tip over into a more positive state. Now if that’s not the case I’d say it doesn’t really matter. Why? Even if it’s a placebo effect and you’re not producing any endorphines, but you feel better, then forcing a smile should be good for you. As a person who believes in the importance of expressing your emotions truly this may seem contradicting, but if we can make ourselves feel better just by moving our facial muscles then I’d say that making a concious effort to smile, even when you’re down, is a wonderful tool in our arsenal that we should use more often.

Smiling to others encourages comfort in your presence. I’m not sure about the majority, but I know for sure that when I’m talking to a person that smiles a lot I feel a lot more comfortable during the conversation. I appreciate it when strangers walk by me and smile as they say, “Good day!” or even a simple “Hello!”. Just by doing that they spread out positive energy and therefore they recieve positive energy back. Don’t go staring at people with a wide toothy grin on your face though. The intention behind the smile is something everyone can read very easily, and I’m pretty sure a lot of us woud feel uncomfortable if a stranger was staring at us with a smile on his/her face.

If we go a bit off track for just a moment. Energy is a give and take system. The energy you give is more often the energy you will recieve back. In most cases, if you put out positivity you will recieve postivity. Same goes for negativity. It gets even better when negative energy is taken and turned into positivity. Someone scowls at you and in return recieves a smile from you. Many things can happen here. Sometime the person sits up with the negative energy because you decided not to take any part in it. Sometimes that negativity disappears due to the fact that you reacted with positivty. Either way, in a battle of the forces, the positive force is always the victor.

I’m sure everyone has a reason to smile. The fact that you woke up this morning is enough to justify a smile, not that a smile needs any justification. That first sip of coffee. The food you’re eating. The story that stranger on the bus told you. All reasons to smile. When we start looking at what we have to smile about, everything that we want to pout over suddenly disappears without a moment’s notice.

So do me a favour. Smile more often. Express your happiness, and even if you aren’t happy right this moment then that’s ok. You don’t have to smile right this moment, or all the time as a matter of fact. Just try to make a habbit of smiling. In the long run you won’t regret it. If the article about wrinkles and frowning is true then you have even more reason to show us that pretty smile. Remember to always express your emotions truly and have a great day.

This song always makes me smile. There’s something about whistling that just makes me happy.

Slow Down

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We need to slow the hell down guys. This car is doing 200km/h and we’re burning up fuel and engine oil at an astounding rate. I mean come on, if you’d just drive slower then you won’t be putting yourself and others at risk. You’ll arrive at your destination safe and sound even though it might take a little longer.

Ok enough with story time. What I’m trying to say is- we need to slow down in daily life. This instant gratification society that we live in today is putting so much stress on us that we can barely function anymore. Your phone won’t load the page right away? Louis C.K. said, “Just give it a fucking minute! It’s going to outer space! Gosh!”. When you think about the distance that information travels these days- you become a bit more patient.

Food isn’t ready right now? Trust me, if you cook the chicken a little bit longer then you’ll be in for a salmonella free and tender meal.

What about all those tasks piled up on your desk? You have a lot of deadlines to meet and a lot of work to do. Why not just take it easily and finish what you’re able to without producing so much cortisol that your body decides to eat itself since you haven’t given it any fuel through the day.

Slowing down and looking at things one at a time can be so beneficial to our mental and physical health. I’m writing this because that’s something I need to remind myself everyday. As a musician with a full-time job and responsibilities to fulfill you can imagine I have a lot on my hands. I’ve noticed that when I’ve stopped trying to multi-task all the time and finish what I can, when I can, I end up putting in a much better effort which results in a better product.

The best way to learn a song is to play it slow. When you first learn to ride a bike you do it slowly. You drove slow during your test and you took your time preparing that meal you made for someone special. In most cases, the result was that you either learned that song note for note, you learned to ride that bike, you passed your driving test and the meal was delicious. Why not keep up a good habit or atleast make a habit of slowing down.

You might say, “Every minute counts!” or “Life is short!”. That’s all true, but why try to do everything as fast as possible only to have to come back to the task later to do it properly? That sounds like time wasted to me. We should be maximizing our efforts in what we are doing so we don’t have to come back to it later and therefore waste time. Again, as I write this I realize that I need to slow the hell down myself.

You don’t need to be worried. Your barber can wait for a moment or two. I’m sure he/she will be forgiving that you misplaced your car keys which is what made you late for your haircut. Not only that, but because you slowed down for a moment you were able retrace your steps and figure out where you left those car keys.

Make a concious effort to slow down and be patient. You’ll smile a lot more and develop discipline that we so sorely need these days.

Music and Emotion

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Music. It’s become something we play in the background today. We sort of half listen to what’s on our radios or phones and form strong opinions on what falls under good and bad music. Sounds a bit silly, right?

As a passionate musician I listen to a lot of music. For the last year or so hip-hop and David Bowie have taken over my library which was once over-run by rock/metal music. Now when I go back to rock/metal I’ve noticed a change in taste. I’ve changed as a person in the last two years and noticed what that’s done to my music taste. I prefer something a bit more calm most of the time, and this progression peaked my curiosity.

When we’re sad we play sad songs. We put on upbeat songs when we’re getting ready to go out to a party. Some people put smooth jazz on in the mornings to wake up, whereas others prefer something more a long the lines of Pantera to wake up during the day. Not only does our current emotional state jurisdict what we want to listen to, but the feeling of the song and the way we interpret it aswell.

One of my favorite songs is Farewell by Boris. That song means a lot to me. Back in the day I used to listen to that song when I felt sad, but as I matured I started to listen to that song to feel happy. Now, a lot of people will disagree and say it’s a emotionaly heavy song, and it is. That’s why it makes me so happy. I love the fact that a 3-piece band from Japan can make me feel such a strong emotional reaction with a 7-minute song. A so

This is the reason why we get so defensive about our musical tastes. Music, for many, talks to our soul and it has an effect on us. We get very emotional over various songs. Tears of joy and sorrow fall for the same song. Feelings of ecstasy and despair can fill us by listening to a 3 minute beat. That is beautiful.

Have you listened to a sad song when you were down, felt you could relate to the musician and then felt better when you were through listening to it? I’m sure you have and doing so is such a healthy response to dealing with sadness. If not, then try it sometime. Or just do whatever works for you!

What about a happy song when you’re overjoyed? Listening to a happy song keeps your motivation going and your endorphins high. A tight groove is the best pick me up I’d say.

Take the time to do as we did years a go. Sit down in front of a good pair of speakers, put an album on and just listen. Pay attention to the lyrics, melodies and beats coming out of the tweeters and woofer. Let the emotion come in and then say goodbye to it when the song is over.

Thank You

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Have you ever woke up and the first thing you said was, “Thank you”? I ask people this question and usually I get a “No.” or “Well, I don’t really know, haven’t thought about it”. I’m not sure what your answer is, but mine is that I have done so and try to remember to do so every morning.

Thank you has replaced “I’m sorry” in my vocabulary. I saw a post on the internet some time ago, on 9gag if I recall correctly, describing how nobody wants to hear I’m sorry all the time. An example from said comic was, “Instead of saying I’m sorry for being such a drag. Say thank you for spending time to me”. Take anything negative and turn it into something positive. Showing gratitude to people will put smiles on their faces and in return you will be paid in happiness. Everyone enjoys gratitude. That present you gave to a friend. He was grateful and expressed his gratitude. You got a shot of those endorphins that we love so much and felt great. You put out some positive energy and got paid in it.

Saying thank you is so important for us mentally and spiritually. Being thankful for whatever reason is a great way to start your pursuit of happiness. Even if it isn’t expressed in the presence of others. I wrote in my last blog post that I was thankful for the sun, and I truly am. We have so much to be thankful for even if we can’t touch what we have. We have people’s smiles, air to breathe, life to live and songs to sing. Everything we experience is something we can be thankful for and the more thankful you are the happier you will be. I guarantee it.

If we go back to the first paragraph we can now see the value of starting the day off with gratitude. Saying thank you when you wake up is a great way to send out good vibes and start the day off right. Being grateful that you woke up to experience another day kickstarts the system and prepares you for the day to come. Any hardships that you may encounter through the day suddenly seem so much easier to deal with, and in a world where stress is becoming a real problem; any help is appreciated.

So do me a favor. Try saying thank you when you wake up tomorrow. Try to make it a part of your morning ritual. It can be hard at first, but I know you can do it. Make a concious effort to draw in positivity so you can spread it out to others. It’s just like the hydrogical cycle.

Water is in ground.

Water evaporates.

Water becomes cloud.

Cloud starts to rain water back down on to the ground, and then the cycle repeats itself. See, even rainy days are something to be thankful for.