Grin , Color, …or Dress and Speak like Coco

A genuine smile can do wonders for the psyche, and for those around you. If you have a positive attitude even when you aren’t feeling all that happy, a frown turned upside down can change the mood of an entire room. A study published in the journal Psychological Science  called "Grin and Bear It: The Influence of Manipulated Positive Facial Expression on the Stress Response" analyzed smiles. As it happens, all of the smiling participants had lower heart rates than the neutral group (those not smiling) after performing stressful multitasking activities. In the experiment, 169 participants either were asked to smile naturally or grin with mouths manipulated with chopsticks to make them broader (the kind that make your eyes crinkle is called a Duchenne smile), or have neutral expressions. Ultimately, the study said that if you are stressed or flustered, turning on a smile (ie. even a forced one) can decrease stress and make you feel happier.


In countries like France, coloring books for adults are bestsellers, even selling more than cookbooks!. The French publisher Hachette has a collection called Art-Thérapie with twenty de-stress volumes including all kinds of drawings . Zoe de Las Cases' Secret Paris coloring book, pictured,  from Little, Brown & Company helps color your way to calm. 

Doodling may be an unconscious way of de-stressing. Humans have been known to doodle beginning when we first picked up a pencil, pen, or crayon. The word “doodle” means to draw or scribble while preoccupied. Who knew this preoccupation could become the latest trend in over-the-counter therapy?! Carl Jung, a Twentieth Century Swiss psychotherapist, prescribed coloring to his patients to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s a current trend to pick up a book filled with images outlined in black, pick up a box of colored pencils and let your mind be transported to a new calm. The idea is to focus on your masterpiece and get your mind off the daily stressors that deadlines and other self-imposed pressures can bring. Your mind is shepherded away from the “fear centers” to a happy place!

In this week’s blog, I wanted to write something inspiring about Coco Chanel, the fashionista from France with very humble beginnings. One of her quotes that I found somewhat tied in with the smile therapy is, “If you are sad, add more lipstick and attack.” I think that could mean that by putting on lipstick (and putting on a smile) you can dodge some of the blues!

So what does it mean to Dress like Coco? Here I insert my dog into “What’s the Word” as her name is Coco (Chanel) due to fact that she is always well dressed in her lovely coat. (And I prefer dog names with four letters!) My Coco can’t wear the must-have little black dress as she is full of Australian Shepherd fur…but I did manage to get her in a strand of pearls. The real Coco Chanel had a way with costume jewelry too.

 dog iwth pearls

For a one-time photo session this blue-Merle Australian Shepherd pairs her fancy fur coat with pearls, in hopes of mimicking her namesake, Coco Chanel. The French fashion designer had a love of costume jewelry to make a statement.

Coco Chanel is the style icon who revolutionized the world of fashion and created  the legendary Chanel no.5 perfume. But the great Coco Chanel was also distinguished by her sharp wit and her independent views on everything. See just a teaser from  who put together  "25 of her most insightful, funny and interesting quotes about fashion. Because really, whose advice apart from Coco’s do you really need?"


The 24 additional quotes are entertaining and inspiring, see

Cleverly called Coco’s “Pearls of wisdom” -- this next website pairs Chanel’s fashion rules and shows her style at

fashion pearls


Famed fashion designer Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel on August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France. With her trademark suits and little black dresses, Coco Chanel created timeless designs that are still popular today. She herself became a much revered style icon known for her simple yet sophisticated outfits paired with great accessories, such as several strands of pearls.Watch this video synopsis of her history from, link and watch the Coco Chanel - Mini Biography (TV-14; 3:03) A short biography of Coco Chanel who's the epitome of a classic woman.

If you are not all that into fashion and don't care too much about wearing fashionable pieces artfully, maybe you like to share your art in home decor. See this refrigerator that speaks volume with one simple word...Merci or thank you could mean "Always compliment the chef" or don't forget to say t"Thank  You for this meal."

merci fridge


Say “Merci” or “thanks”, like the French do with this custom piece from Letter2word. The bronze finish and script style makes this necessary, stalwart appliance of the kitchen seem a bit more playful--and it serves as a reminder to others to use their manners, and 'hint' say something!


Create your own custom decor by clicking here!

The message from the research, trends, and Coco Chanel is clear, smile more, complain less;  doodle more, stress less; and always try to look your best, even if you don't feel like it!

Voila, the Blogging Word Girl in 2003, all dressed up in French fashion in a dress painted by Letter2word’s own Sally Shannon Dailey. The cut-out art was a photo opp for a price to raise funds for a not-for-profit…back before “selfie” was a word!



“Appreciation can make a day—even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” ------Margaret Cousins

By: Ann K. Nicknish, The Blogging Word Girl (BWG)


  • A smile + kind words = beauty. Nice job Ann!

  • Yes, smiles are contagious too! Especially the ones that make your eyes light up! Apparently George Clooney is the master of the Duchenne smile. Who knew?!

    Ann the BWG
  • Great post, Ann. Brought another smile to my face!

  • Love the coloring book! Chanel no.5 has been my staple for years. Will be smiling all day:)


Leave a comment