written by Andrea Schulz-Ward, Chaffee County Youth Alliance / Communities That Care Facilitator
As I reflect on the year of hardships built around the COVID 19 pandemic, I have come to appreciate the simple act of a smile. I do have to say that wearing a mask may make it more challenging, but I truly can see a person’s smile in their eyes (and their eye creases).
Knowing I have unlimited access to a powerful tool that brings immediate levity to my pain and perhaps lifts the spirit of another person is invigorating. Yes, of course, at times I may not feel like smiling, but I do because it always helps. Just in case you need some motivation to smile, here are 10 reasons cited by Verywell Mind.
1. Smiling Helps You Live Longer
2. Smiling Relieves Stress
3. Smiling Elevates Mood
4. Smiling is Contagious (this is one of my favorites)
5. Smiling Boosts the Immune System (isn't that cool?)
6. Smiling May Lower Blood Pressure
7. Smiling Reduces Pain
8. Smiling Makes You Attractive
9. Smiling Suggests Success
10. Smiling Helps You Stay Positive
When someone smiles at me, I feel “seen” and “noticed.” The simple act connects us to one another, can help establish a bond. Bonding to community, family, school, and peers is important in supporting healthy behaviors, particularly in youth.
The Chaffee County Youth Alliance (CCYA) works towards generating healthy bonds by creating opportunities for young people to actively contribute, nurturing skills to be able to successfully contribute, and providing recognition and reinforcement for efforts and accomplishments. The COVID 19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on mental health and substance use within our community and the programs offered by CCYA are available to assist. The programs are a result of the collaboration from 40+ organizations that are passionate about the health and wellness of the Chaffee community. For more information, please contact me, Andrea Schulz-Ward, CCYA Communities that Care Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.