Could smiling be a simple antidote to help us get through these extraordinary times?
“Smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone,” goes the song. For decades, singers have crooned about the power of smiling to make you feel better.
This International Day of Happiness, gift yourself and your near and dear ones, a big SMILE!
According to a new study published in the journal, Experimental Psychology, the sheer activity of moving your facial muscles to form a smile—even if you fake it—generates positive emotions and raises your mood.
According to Forbes magazine, you can lift your workday mood by acting as if you already feel better than you actually do.
Yes, I am not kidding. It really does work. Want to try it out yourself?
Just self-assign yourself a certain performance as if it’s how you already feel. When you act “as if,” the mood you pretend becomes your REALITY!
For instance, someone in your team has offended you and that makes you angry but you want to be forgiving. You can start to feel forgiving by acting as if you are forgiving.
Perhaps you feel envious of an old friend’s career growth but want to be happy for her. You can be happy by acting as if you are happy.
The reason it works is because of the mind-body connection. The cells of your body constantly eavesdrop on your thoughts from the wings of your mind.
When you feel low about something, your body goes with the downturn of your feelings and dumps a concoction of neuropeptides into your bloodstream, which in turn, makes you feel even worse in a matter of seconds.
As you focus on the negative feeling, you might not even realize that your body language screams it loud enough through your ‘hunched head’ and ‘slumped walk’.
These body postures not only reflect how you feel but also contributes to how you feel, which makes you feel even worse and come across in a negative way.
The same is true with smiling.
Ground-breaking research from the University of South Australia confirms that the act of smiling can trick your mind into happiness – and the mystery lies in how you move your facial muscles.
When you force a smile on your face, it triggers the amygdala—the emotional brain centre – compelling it to release the neurotransmitters that encourage an emotionally positive state.
According to Dr Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, “When your muscles say you’re happy, you’re more likely to see the world around you in a positive way because your brain can be tricked into perceiving stimuli as HAPPY”.
No doubt, an apt time to use this mechanism to boost our mental health conditions by reducing the covid-led new normal times of anxiety or depression.