Make a Silly Face

Make a face in the mirror. Make another. OK, now make another face.

Make sure they are funny faces.

We adults are so silly. We sometimes get so caught up in our serious worlds that we forget to act silly. And that is silly, because acting silly is a great stress reliever. It is a great reminder of our own humanity. It helps us to go easier on ourselves for our slip-ups. It connects us with our selves.

It’s not that we are happier when we act silly, as much that we are usually happier if we act silly every now and them. Acting silly is like a release valve, and all the tensions and all the guilt and all the negative energy is allowed to dissipate into the atmosphere.

So go ahead and make a silly face in the mirror.

READ ALSO: Live like you were dying

How Does Feng Shui Work?

For many people, the ancient Chinese study of Feng Shui seems shrouded in mystery. From “Chi” to the Ba Gua and its graceful yet impenetrable Chinese characters, many feel they have no hope of understanding how Feng Shui works, and give up on pursuing its many benefits.

But the power of Feng Shui lies not in what FengShui does, but in how the student of Feng Shui perceives his or her surroundings. In that sense, Feng Shui works not because it does something, but because its practitioners perceive aspects of surroundings that many people don’t perceive. Once the practitioner understands the surroundings, he or she consults the established texts and methods to determine how to alter that environment in an auspicious manner.

The practice of Feng Shui was developed in ancient times and has been carefully refined over the millennia. In the most ancient times, Feng Shui practitioners used knowledge of the stars and, later, the compass, to orient homes in propitious manner for the well-being of the occupants.

Often, this orientation took advantage of several benefits that, upon modest reflection, seem obvious: orienting the home to receive the most sunlight in the winter, or the greatest shade in the summer. However, in the modern world, few of us would recognize these benefits without and explicit effort to do so, so even on its simplest and most ancient level, Feng Shui provides what is for us a “new” understanding of our environment.

As ancient practitioners deepened their understanding of their natural surroundings, they developed what is now known as the “five elements theory.” The five elements, Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, are connected through and interact with “Chi.”

English translations regularly use the term “life force” as a translation for chi, but there is no term in English that captures the meaning of chi well – this may be one reason Feng Shui seems so mysterious to westerners. Chi is a vital element or an energy field that expresses or captures the relationship between the energy of living things and the energy of the inanimate world.

A last important concept underpinning Feng Shui is the concept of Yin/Yang. This concept is founded in the recognition that almost everything we can experience can have either a positive or a negative effect. Yin yang theory recognizes, in essence, that opposites cannot exist without each other, thus they are inseparable.

Feng Shui, in so far as it is used today, is used for two purposes. Both require analysis of the environment with respect to understanding the interaction of the five elements and chi, and balance with respect to yin and yang. First it is used, as it was in ancient times, to find the most auspicious site, portion of a site, or orientation of a building on a site. Second, and more commonly, it is used to maximize positive flow of energy and the best balance of opposing forces of yin and yang in a room, office, or home.

So, while Feng Shui may seem mysterious, the concepts that underlie it are ancient, tested again and again, and, often, easily understandable.

Michael Schnippering is the founder of Feng Shui at Work. He is committed to the true art and science of Feng Shui. Over the years his Feng Shui practice has taken him to various parts of the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Colombia and Argentina. If you’d like to learn more about Feng Shui, read Michael’ blog and follow him on Twitter @fengshuiatwork

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life

How to Get Through Life’s Holes and not Get Stuck in Them!

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life is about resiliency. One of the most consistent characteristics of people who report high levels of life satisfaction and happiness is resilience: having the ability to bounce back from life’s setbacks, grow from challenges and transform stress into success.

The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life is a self-help book that will be released in mid October. This whimsical yet informative self-help book uses Swiss Cheese as a metaphor for life itself. Life is not predictable and smooth like cream cheese. Our lives are really more like Swiss with all its distinctive holes, and without the holes, there would be no Swiss! Our lives, likewise, have inevitable “holes,” and “imperfections,” yet these holes give us our unique character and depth.

It’s a fact that the larger the holes of the Swiss, the sweeter and more distinctive the cheese. What an analogy to our lives! We develop resiliency by overcoming challenges and obstacles. By moving through life’s holes rather than getting stuck in them, we become stronger.

Besides, the holes of the cheese are called eyes, so it is the holes in our lives that allow us to “see more clearly” and develop insight. Swiss Cheese with no holes is called blind Swiss – and you wouldn’t want to live with your eyes closed like this cheese in denial!

There are ten takeaways from “The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life” that can empower you and help you build resiliency skills:

  1. Fondue Can Never Turn Back into a Block of Cheese. Give up the habit of looking back with regret – there are no do-overs and by focusing too much about the past and what can’t be changed will keep you stuck in a hole!
  2. There is No Such Thing as a Perfect Slice of Cheese. Give up the need for perfection. Besides, the road to success is paved with mistakes and failures.
  3. No “Whine” with the Cheese, Please! Pity Parties are over-rated. Strive to look at things more rationally and positively. The Swiss Cheese Motto is: Think Straight and Feel Great!
  4. If the Cheese is Ripe, Dig In! Be Proactive, not Reactive! The more you feel in control of your actions and reactions, and do not “wait” for things to happen, the more empowered and effective you will be.
  5. Live ‘Whole’ Despite the Holes.  Focus on developing mindfulness and spirituality with the intent of being present-focused.
  6. Enjoy the Wine and Cheese Party! People who connect with others, give and receive social support, are happier than people who are isolated. As the old Bell Telephone commercials said: Reach out and touch someone!
  7. Be like Cheese-Lite! Develop health and wellness through exercise, healthy eating, and good lifestyle habits. Welcome wellness for a healthier YOU!
  8. Slice the Cheese Wheel of Life. Get organized, prioritize and delegate so that you can achieve a healthy lifestyle balance. Don’t let time divide you – learn to divide your time and energy in a way that makes you feel balanced.
  9. Master the Cheese Wheel of Change.  Embrace change, be flexible, and strive to be a Stress Manager and not a Stress Carrier!
  10. Smile and Say “Cheese”!

Focus on developing a positive outlook and healthy optimism, while you work on healing resentments, focusing on forgiveness, and striving to replace negativity with gratitude.
These ten areas of resiliency are important in every aspect of our lives, and embracing these delectable takeaways from The Swiss Cheese Theory of Life will give you the pungency and flavor of a complete and meaningful life!

Psychotherapists and wellness speakers Judy Belmont and co-author Lora Shor offer videos and self-tests, and book information on their website,, where you can download the first two chapters of their upcoming book. Judy can be reached at

The Pharmacist is Clowning Around

I would like to introduce you to Fang Li Yun, a 52-year-old Malaysian pharmacist of 24 years.  She is part of what they call the “Funny Action” project, which helps people learn to laugh and to smile even when there is no good news to smile about.

Like so many other people, Fang Li Yun thought happiness would follow her income, and as a pharmacist she was making good money.

But in 2006 she discovered clowning and discovered there was more happiness to be achieved.  This lead to a mission or pilgrimage of sorts with Hunter Doherty “Patch Adams” and a group of thirty other people from various countries to Mexico last year.  Together they visited patients, the homeless, the elderly, shut-ins and  HIV-infected people while dressed in their best clown attire

What made the biggest difference? In 2008, a friend of hers who was president of a breast cancer  support group, asked her this question: “The happiness a clown brings to people is only momentary. How are you going to make the happiness last?”

Now she teaches people how to laugh: “Everyone is born with the ability to laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and an effective way of fighting illnesses. Based on statistics, babies can laugh up to 400-500 times a day, while adults laugh an average of only 14 to 15 times a day.”

Fringe benefits of clowning around include increased self-confidence and reduced stress. Fang Li Yun discovered that whenever she focuses on making other people happy, she also experiences a surge of joy and forgets all her worries and cares.

And she is still a pharmacist.

This post was included in the That Girl Is Funny Blog Carnival.