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Smiling Behind the Mask

How are you doing? I’m feeling a little burst of positivity this week as things are slowly starting to feel a bit more normal. We have seen a few more friends and family members (from afar) and the local Starbucks in my town re-opened this week (major development). And generally, I’m a little less nervous about going to the pharmacy and the supermarket. But as I've been moving about in public a bit more I've had a lot more interactions with strangers while wearing a mask. And, it's made me think about how we treat each other in this new world.  
Smiling Behind the Mask
Dear Kosterina Family, 
  
How are you doing? I’m feeling a little burst of positivity this week as things are slowly starting to feel a bit more normal. We have seen a few more friends and family members (from afar) and the local Starbucks in my town re-opened this week (major development). And generally, I’m a little less nervous about going to the pharmacy and the supermarket. But as I've been moving about in public a bit more I've had a lot more interactions with strangers while wearing a mask. And, it's made me think about how we treat each other in this new world. 
 
The masks are hot and annoying but what I dislike most about them is that I can’t smile at people.

Apparently, something as simple as smiling has profound benefits on our own personal well-being, and the health of our communities. According to recent psychological research, smiling triggers hormones in our brain that help us feel happier, less stressed and ultimately, live longer lives. Smiling activates our feel-good neurotransmitters - dopamine, endorphins and serotonin - which triggers our bodies to relax, lift our moods and even decreases our blood pressure. Some research even says that one smile can simulate the same level of pleasure as eating 2,000 bars of chocolate. (Not sure I believe that one). 

And when we see another human being smile, it actually is contagious. We literally can't help but smile back at another person when they smile at us. Our brains are actually looking out for us to feel good and live longer. 
 
So we’re going to have to grin a bit extra wide beneath that mask so people know we’re smiling under there. We need smiles so big that they reach our eyes to share happiness with those around us. 

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