Saturday, August 31, 2013

It’s All in the Smile

I was in the grocery store last week and a young girl next to me in the isle wasn’t paying attention to where she was going and backed up into me. I could tell she was expecting a harsh reaction by the look on her face. Instead, I simply smiled. No words were exchanged between us but immediately the atmosphere changed. A smile and soft eyes returned my very simple gesture - her body language reflected relief. I can only imagine how that child must have been treated by others…that she would come to expect a harsh reaction for such a silly blunder instead of expecting grace.

When we smile it doesn’t only affect others positively, it helps us too! Here are some fun facts about smiling to encourage you to harness this simple but mighty powerful tool:
1.      Lowers Heart Rate – Smiling slows the heart and relaxes the body. This lets the heart work without overworking. People who smile and laugh often are less likely to develop heart disease. Smiling reduces blood pressure temporarily too.

2.       Reduce Stress – Stress is a common problem in the modern world that causes a myriad of health problems. Stress relief may be as simple as smiling a little more throughout the day. Smiling releases endorphins that counteract and diminish the stress hormones.

3.      Betters Your Mood – The endorphins do more than kick stress to the curb. Endorphins lift your mood. Feeling down? Slap a smile on your face, even if it isn’t entirely genuine at first, and turn your entire day around with something simple, easy to do, and free.

4.      Increase Productivity – Smiling has been shown to increase productivity while performing tasks. There’s truth to the “whistle while we work” mentality. This also explains why silly internet memes and pictures of cute animals can actually get people motivated and working harder after a few moments of smiling or laughter.

5.       Longevity – The effects of a good smile extend past just the exterior good looks. People who smile more often live longer too, around 7 years longer than most according to one study. It releases stress, helps the heart, and much more to keep you healthy longer.

6.      Boost Immune System – Smiles help the body relax and this lets the immune system react more quickly and effectively against invaders.

7.      Look Younger – Smiles naturally lift the face and in studies have shown to make people look younger, around 3 years younger on average.

So, have you smiled recently? 

Michelle Brockman for
Jonah’s Place

Smile facts excerpt from Pulsipher

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Four Facts About Animal Therapy

Jonah's Place is marching full steam ahead into the hope filled future! Our final phase of development will include an Animal Assisted Therapy program (AAT) for at risk children and youth in our community. Here are four facts that you may not know about this very cool method of therapy:

1. They are not dependent on a specific theory. Animal-assisted therapy encompasses all types of psychology theories from psychoanalytic to behavioral. Amy McCullough, who is the American Humane Association’s National Animal-Assisted Therapy Director, explains that animal-assisted therapy is “utilizing an animal as an adjunct to a therapeutic process” regardless of theory. In general, AAT “becomes another tool in their tool kit for the type of therapy they practice.”

2. They are not service animals. Although often confused with service animals, there are significant differences between them. Service animals, for example, are protected by the American Disabilities Act, live with owners who have physical and emotional disabilities and assist them solely with daily living. In contrast, therapy animals work with professionals and clients.

3. They don’t just include dogs and horses. While you will most likely hear about dogs and horses, therapy animals run the gamut from llamas to dolphins.

4. They help individuals with a wide variety of causes and settings. Therapy animals assist therapists in helping clients with a multitude of goals such as improving self-esteem and developing social skills, as well as providing help for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They also work in a wide variety of clinical settings from psychiatric hospitals to nursing homes.

Check out our site at for updates and to learn more about us!

(Facts excerpt from