Have you been embracing your inner lunatic lately? Did y’all notice how some of us are inordinately better than others at dealing with the hurt, harm, headaches, and heaviness in the world right now. I had my patience tested. I’m negative. Are you walking around with outward smiles, but indoor screams? By the way, when was the last time you saw someone smile? Oh, that’s right. You can’t. Face masks. Well, at least ventriloquism got easier. Many have given up smiling entirely. We’re all on the road to De-mask-us. Of course, you’re not planning to turn your clock back on November 1. Seriously, none of us need an extra hour of 2020.

You feel like you’re colorblind and everyone keeps telling you how colorful the world is. But would it interest you to know that when you smile, you signal the emotional center in your brain, telling it that everything is “good”? And even if it’s not, it will be very soon. So in spite of it all, try to wear that smile. They are one size fits all. And not for nothing, they increase your face value. If there was ever a universal symbol for happiness; it would surely be a smile.

Smiles release neurotransmitters in your brain associated with joy or pleasure. Your body relaxes, as your heart rate decreases, canceling out tightness and tension. Ah, but so much more than that, sweet friends. Your feelings are the control center for what goes on in your body. By releasing those happy hormones, a.k.a. “endorphins,” you literally boost your immunity. And is that not what we are told prevents illness? Did you notice that some people are immune to good advice?

Make no mistake. Facial expressions have a tremendous impact on us. They can not only transform you, and lift your mood, but clearly affect those around you, as well. You may be smiling at the masked faces these days, but you do not even know if they are smiling back. Wait, did her cheekbones just rise under that face covering? You may have given up on throwing that feel-good party in your brain altogether.

If so, then you have lost your natural anti-depressant, too. We humans treat each other differently when we smile at one another. We feel attracted and even rewarded when someone gives us that bright look. And with mandated face coverings preventing that, now what?

We used to be able to flash that grin and communicate even with strangers without saying a single word. We perpetually interpret cues and signals from others. How can you send – or even receive – that friendly message if he can’t even see your pearly whites?

We must find creative ways to send out uplifting energy until these restricting edicts are lifted. Because Lord knows we all need a positive spin on life right about now. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain killers, so without smiles, closeness, and hugs, we may feel doomed.

Make someone laugh. Tell a corny joke if you have to. A priest, a rabbi, and a doctor walk into a bar. The bartender says: “What is this, some kind of joke?” Have y’all heard the one about the bad pole-vaulter? It never goes over very well. So what if I don’t know what “Armageddon” means? You know it’s not the end of the world. Heh.

G’head and laugh at yourself sometimes. Just think how much more approachable people seem when they smile or make you laugh. Have you tried watching some funny shows? Laugh off some of the glumness and gloominess.

Wouldn’t you just love the recipe on how to be soothed and storm-free? Speaking of which, does anyone have the recipe for: “I don’t know” or “I don’t care”? It’s what the family asks for dinner, and I can’t find any recipes. Are you the one who brings your famous recipe for a “Bag of Ice” to the family barbecue? Sheesh. But truly, what is the magic potion to down, in order to stay mellow and mild-mannered these days?

I know mine: “Hocus Pocus, I need coffee to focus.” But wait, why isn’t she getting all frazzled, fatigued, and frayed from the hundreds of dramas we have to deal with daily? How is he able to stay in such control during this madness, mess, and mayhem? And here you are using whatever energy you have left to breathe and maybe blink. Good grief.

The enchanted formula, sweet friends, is staying in the moment – not fretting about the past or wearily anticipating the unknown future. Do not allow yourself to get lost in your thoughts and feelings. Be kind to your mind. As torturous and trying as it may seem, we have no choice but to let certain things unfold and follow their natural course.

Riding it out is not the same as resisting. Sure, many of us are questioning the so called “experts” and authorities, and know that things can be poles apart from the manner in which the media portrays them. But there’s no need to try to force change by insisting upon it, while making ourselves a bundle of nerves and emotionally edgy all the day long. By all means, do push back and fight for what you believe in, my friends. Change never comes about from following the path of least resistance.

You’re trying to contain your crazy, but the lid keeps popping off. People aren’t driving you crazy. It’s a short trip. You know how to get there all by yourself. I get it. Long periods of stress weaken your immune system. The greatest strength you have is to simply choose one thought over another. If you have brain fog, perhaps you need to ground some of your thoughts until further notice.

In the meantime, give in to that basic biological expression: Smile. Think about it: It’s the most inexpensive gift you can bestow on anyone. See how powerful it is? You can even break ice with it. You say you only have one smile in you today. Okay, give that care package away. After all, a smile is happiness you will find right under your nose.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.