When we think about our health, we tend to divide our efforts and focus on one big thing, like being physically fit, eating well, meditating. But the truth is all of these things work together to help us be our healthiest self. If we are in a bad mood for instance we will not work as hard and our diet may suffer. A lot of people (like myself) when feeling in a bad mood will try to fit a quick workout in to try to get our mood up. Exercise can release all sorts of happy chemicals in the brain that will give us a big boost in our mood after just a few minutes… and this is great… except when you have no time to work out, or are stuck in work and the only privacy you can get is in the bathroom stall with your foot propped securely against the door to ward off the rest of the world. So what do you do when you need a mood lift but can’t escape long enough to get a quick work out in?
Have you ever noticed how infectious and powerful smiles tend to be. If you’re in an off mood, being with friends who are smiling can actually lift your mood, making you feel better. If you are in a horrible mood and confronted with a rival who’s smiling despite you, you can become angry at the very fact that they seem to be enjoying the situation. In fact, out of all of the non verbal ways that we communicate, I personally feel that a smile is among the more telling and powerful.
But did you know that by smiling yourself, you can actually change your own mood? I’ll say that again, by smiling, you can actually put yourself in a good mood, even if you’ve been down all week. Even more amazing, it doesn’t even have to be a real, genuine smile! You can create a smile by simply sticking a pen sideways in your mouth and biting down. keep the pen in there for a little while, and you’ll notice your mood start to improve, it’s that simple.
Ok, so maybe the action is simple, but the thought behind it is profound. This small experiment is a great demonstration of the power that our bodies can have over our mind and puts out the thought that “mind over matter” fan work in the reverse as well. What’s more, as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, smiles are contagious, so by smiling in a crowd, you not don’t only lift your own mood, but you can lighten up any interaction. You can even reduce the stress of yourself and your friends, there are countless studies that link smiling and good mood to a reduction in functional stress.
Now for a real bonus to this thought, if one can alter ones happiness simply by smiling, what does that say about the rest of our expressions and body language? Want more confidence, simply assume a more confident stance! Feel yourself starting to get stressed or nervous? Take a look at your body language and expression, is it showing your the true landscape of your mind?
Are there times in your day where you feel you could use a boost in happiness or confidence? Give this method a try and let us know how it works for you in the comments! And don’t forgot to like and share this post to a friend you’d like to see eat a pencil for the sake of a smile!