Disabled and Thriving

Overcoming obstacles in an able-bodied world.

Smile, Smile, Smile!

A smile a day can improve your mood - and productivity!

I've always tried to live life by this rule: Life is meant for lots of smiles. Through good times and not-so-good times.

I've always been a fan of smile therapy. It's simple: Just smile. Did you know smiling can relieve stress, boost your immune system and can even be contagious?

And for those tech-savvy people out there, you can boost your smile that extra mile with the help of Smile-Therapy.com.

Yes, it's true. A site as glorious as this actually exists; I couldn't believe it myself at first. The site offers miles of smiles. In fact, its mission statement says it all:

Smile-Therapy provides a steady diet of the positive thoughts that can help power your life toward the happiness and abundance that you naturally desire. Smile-Therapy is also your faithful "opportunity scout," scouring thousands of resources to provide you with a library of "how-to's" and savings that can enrich your life.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

I spent a good portion of one morning perusing the site, a recently particularly gloomy winter morning where the sun barely peeked through the clouds and the white snow covering the ground wasn't so white anymore, and found my mouth begin to stretch into a smile with each click of the mouse. Did you know that Tuesday is National Pancake Day? Instant smile (a few days later, I was still thinking about how lovely and sweet syrup is). Did you know that you can actually un-shrink a sweater? Boom. Another instant smile.

And what's even better? The categories of chuckles cover the entire alphabet from animals to Web site recommendations.

And of course, that made me think: Why is it so easy to pinpoint what makes us unhappy? The car broke. The house is a mess. We're just generally overwhelmed and stressed. To that end, I made a list (yes, lists are something that make me grin) of things that make me smile lately:

• No matter how many times I watch Frasier with my mom, we still laugh until the tears start rolling down our cheeks.

• That first sip of Mountain Dew with my lunch. My mother is trying to corrupt me and pull me into the dark web of diet soda pop. This is my way of staging a silent but strong rebellion.

• That whole doughnut I just ate and felt no shame whatsoever, even if my stomach will feel a bit rounder when I go to bed this evening.

• The hilarious jokes in Reader's Digest. My sister rolls her eyes at me, but I literally laugh out loud when I'm reading them (see, there's one more reason I belong in a retirement village).

• Singing along at the top of my lungs to my iTunes playlist when no one else is home. My current set list includes classic 1980s power ballads, the assorted Taylor Swift song and the emotive goodness of Gordon Lightfoot (am I the only one who still loves this guy?). See. That is why I reserve my performances for those times when no one else is home. Otherwise, I am promptly - and forcefully - told to stop and be quiet. Immediately.

• Never, ever letting anyone try to define me. I like being myself; blending in with the crowd is never worth it. So I choose to stand out. I like being an enigma.

I encourage you to make a list of your own. It'll be enough to make your muscles sore from smiling. Don't say I didn't warn you. Just consider smiling part of your daily health regime. A vitamin for the soul. Now let's see those pearly whites. Happy smiling.

Melissa Blake is a normal 20-something living with an abnormal disorder.

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