Do you ever have those days where nothing’s really wrong but you just feel a bit down?
Those days where you sort of mope around and just generally feel a bit ‘meh’.
On those kinds of days there is something really simple that you can do to make yourself feel happier. It might sound a bit backwards but, thanks to a funny bit of psychology, it really does work.
All you have to do is smile.
Even if you really don’t feel like it. Just start smiling.
The physical act of smiling tricks our brains into thinking that we’re happy. Our brain reasons that if we’re smiling we must be happy. Otherwise why would we be smiling?
This all happens subconsciously and is mostly down to good old cognitive dissonance, which I mentioned recently in a post about winning people over.
If you’ve not head of it before, cognitive dissonance is basically where we feel uneasy when our thoughts are inconsistent with our behaviour. So if we feel sad but we’re smiling, it’s a bit jarring on a subconscious level.
Our brains decide that if we’re smiling, we must actually be happy, so we then start to genuinely feel that way.
When we smile, even if it’s fake to start with, our brains release lovely feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which all help to make us feel happier and less stressed. So then we smile more and this wonderful happy cycle begins.
Next time you’re having ‘one of those days’, try putting a big fake smile on your face and see if it helps.
If you want to you can go one step further and find something that will put a genuine smile on your face. Watch an old episode of Friends (or the bloopers on YouTube, they always crack me up). Phone a friend who you always end up giggling with. Do something, anything, that gets a smile on your face and see how your day turns around.