I had intended to use the subject of my earlier post for a longer discussion, but ended up posting just the poem as I always thought that it was good enough to demand exclusivity and I did not have the rest of the content ready. I use this one to continue once again on the same thread (sorry for sticking to it, but the last one DID remain incomplete!)
Last week, most mornings at home began with discussions on our absolute disgust at the lack of commitment, honesty and sincerity in the support staff (can't find a better term for the maids, cooks, nannies and the drivers of the world!) and how to prevent their sudden and sometimes even extended leaves of absence. I am just out of a session with one such staff delivering the last and final warning of giving out a 'pink slip!' (of course given for the nth time). I have always tended to dislike the propensity in people to score high and win battles based on decibel levels (most of them are always ignorant of the severe after-effects on other people), and am pleased to say that in this case again, I did not have to test the extremes of either my decibel level or my temper.
On my way to office however, I began to think about how a few signficant moments, especially those in the early mornings, tend to change the complexion of my entire day. A hearty laugh at the beginning of a day has always enthused me no end and brought a spring in my step. Conversely, a bad argument early on in the day has more often than not tended to drag the rest of my day down in a negative spiral. I am not sure if I could apply the principles of 'momentum' or 'inertia' out here, but I will find it hard to deny the strong influence of the mental makeup of one moment over the next. And......more importantly, the mood of one person over the other. Simply put, I am referring to the 'hang-over' of situations and moods of people in one's lives!!! That brings me to the subject of this post which is essentially a continuation of the previous one - the hangover of a morning smile.
Before we go to the morning smile though, I should speak about an article that I was recently going through about a fascinating study on 'happiness' published in the British Medical Journal. While the results of the study - "Happiness is contagious" - did not reveal anything that we already do not know, I found some elements fascinating because of the effort made to go a step further and understand the rationale for contagion (misery may not love company but happiness does! - why?) as well as quantify the spread/impact in the social networks. They found that when someone gets happy, that person’s friend experiences a 25% increased chance of becoming happy. A friend of that friend experiences a nearly 10% chance of increased happiness, and a friend of that friend has a 5.6% increased chance of happiness.In addition, a spouse experiences an 8% increased chance while the next-door neighbour experiences 34% !!! (Now, do not ask me why the next door neighbour experiences a 400% greater chance of being happy than your spouse!) Expectedly, sadness is far less contagious as it makes you pull away from others thus giving them lesser exposure to your bad mood. Coming back to the smile more specifically, scientists in Sweden at the Uppsala University have seprately figured out why it's so difficult to keep a straight face when others are grinning away. Apparently, there is a shortcut to the part of the brain that recognizes faces and expressions that bypasses the area responsible for conscious processing.
Without getting carried away by the research studies themselves (sometimes, I tend to read them - especially in the Science section of the TOI - because I find them more amusing and funny than informative!), I like to come back to the subject that I am more fascinated with - the 'morning smile'. Now, how is a morning smile different from an afternoon or an evening smile ? I am definitely not going to talk about all of them out here, but you would appreciate the fact that there are innumerable variants of a smile each quite different from the other (depending on the angle of the twitch in the face and its honesty, the time or the person giving that smile !). Essentially what I am referring to is the first greeting that you give a person you are seeing or meeting for the first time during the day starting from the one that you wake up with lying on the bed.
The positive energy flowing from the warmth of this morning smile is like booster shots given to fallen football players. Can be addictive as coffee and give you the high of a marijuana, and the longest hang-over that you would never regret having !! The picture in your mind of a lazy beautiful smile from the bed with the first rays of the sun streaming very gently through the curtains is like a slow invigorating drug making you feel calm and blissful to begin with, and filling you up with energy in time. Beginning the day on a positive note more often than not has led me to have a more productive and fruitful day, and this is one hangover that I really look forward to. It makes you think about all the nice things in the world, about how you are likely to go out there today and conquer the world. It makes you dream, and how I love dreaming...... there is so much in your hands to make yourself feel good !! Conversely of course, it goes without saying that I hate to start my day with an argument or a complaint or in a bad mood.
I tend to be most comfortable, energetic and happy when I am with people who have this 'ready smile' with them. Sometimes, a ready grin is even more delightful, and the one that is a touch naughty with a twinkle in the eye just floods my head up completely!! I feel like the the parched earth dancing to the first monsoon rain, and celebrating the joy in the air. I am posting this to thank everyone around me who care to give me that million dollar smile the first thing every morning. With small babies and big babies around me at home, I have been lucky to enjoy the ready grin (many a times with the twinkle!), and I simply devour these moments and the kids!!
Kids do not always continue to remain kids, and life always offers these fascinating twists that tend to sober down people and suck certain things away. My message - A beautiful smile (and even a ready naughty grin) is god's gift to you and it gives you enormous power that you may not realize, with potential to change other people's lives. Come what may, do not lose it...... as this hangover is one that everyone will love looking forward to!