I know, I know, I can hear your eyes rolling at the thought of faking a smile. Is this just a ridiculous trick to grab for a good mood? The short answer is yes — you can trick yourself into feeling better just by moving a few facial muscles.
The key to this isn't sitting there, forcing your face into a happy mask and waiting for the proverbial sunshine to fall upon you. It's finding little delights that make you see the world differently. Once you do this, the smile that follows is completely natural.
Music is a shortcut to mood enhancement. Keep a list of your favorite songs somewhere handy, and then hum or sing them to yourself. Your mouth and throat will get warm from this, and a smile will feel effortless.
Some people have a favorite website that they visit several times a week. Others watch a few minutes of a YouTube collection of practical jokes. Find something you can read or watch for just a few minutes that makes you chuckle, even if it's a soft chuckle.
Find a pretty leaf on a walk and press it between the pages of a book you're reading. Bring the drawing from your niece to work and put it beside your computer. Keep a small favorite stuffed animal in your purse. Take a moment in the day to look at or hold your precious things and smile at them.
What if you practiced a confident smile before beginning a new project? You might even practice in the bathroom while you're at work. Visualize yourself as confident and capable for the task. This will make your mind feel flexible and receptive to new ideas.
A smile is contagious. If you're feeling even slightly "smiley," try catching the eye of a co-worker or even a stranger on the street and send out your smile. In almost every case, you'll get a bright, thankful smile in return, and in that brief moment of connecting with someone, your spirits will rise.
Smiling and giving yourself reasons to smile is truly in your best interest — plus, it can be fun! There's no shame in forcing a smile to help your mood, and giving yourself these little inspirations makes it all the easier.
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