It has been a miserable day. You overslept, your hair-dryer died in a brief flash of evil burning smell, you forgot to get gas on your way home last night and had to wait in line at the pump this morning. Your boss has a new favorite (and it’s definitely not you), the team meeting dragged on for-e-ver, and you only got half your work done.

You came home to a messy house, the kids each doing their own “thing” none of which included their chores. You burnt dinner, your spouse was cranky and bedtime couldn’t come soon enough.

Sound familiar? Well, here’s an easy quick way to find relief. Smile! No kidding, smile. Recent research shows that “smiling can reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline while increasing mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins” (Ron Gutman, Science-dude words for “smiling makes you feel good” in real we-can-measure-it bodily terms.

Children smile about 400 times a day. Some 67 percent of adults smile less than 20 times a day, and on a day like the one you had? Chances are you barely cracked a grin even once . . .

Unfortunately, just slapping a smile on your face without a feeling of enjoyment or appreciation behind it won’t work. Plus, you’ll feel really silly flashing a fake grin that shows teeth and little else. But you can find genuine reasons to smile throughout your day—quick easy scientifically proven ways to lower your stress literally dozens if not hundreds of times a day.

How? By being deliberate. By proactively looking for something that gives you pleasure, or that you can appreciate, right here, right now.

For example, you overslept, your hairdryer died, and all the rest, but you’re finally on your way to work. Now find whatever reason you can to smile: listen to an amusing or uplifting podcast or radio show, appreciate that you have a job, appreciate that you have a way to get to work, appreciate that you are finally on your way. Admire the plants that miraculously manage to grow right at the edge of the freeway. Notice the sunny day, or appreciate how warm and dry you are as the clouds presage rain. Dwell on whatever gives you even a moment of pleasure and allow that pleasure to spread through your being into a smile.

All through your day, deliberately seek out the people, situations, thoughts and memories that lighten your spirit, that make you smile.

You will find greater ease, you will find relief, your body, mind and spirit all will benefit from the simple expedient of looking for—a smile!

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit,