Smile! It Will Change Your Mood
Recently I learned a valuable lesson about what it means to just simply “smile”. At an Education For Life seminar I was given some very important information. I will remember this piece of advice forever. It was so simple, yet so very effective, and is in fact something I have always strived to do naturally. I just never knew how life changing it could be, not just myself, but for others too. I was reminded of it again, not long afterwards during an episode of Supernatural, the TV series and today I would like to share it with you in the hopes that you might see it as a possible way to change your life for the better.
A Telling Exercise
During this seminar, the speaker was discussing physiology and body language and how they can relate to the way a person is feeling.
He was involving us, his audience, in some exercises about how we hold our bodies in various situations and showing us how simple changes can bring about vastly different experiences.
Body Posture Is Very Important It Appears
For the first part of our studies we did a few exercises that used slouching or upright postures in different hypothetical circumstances, such as meeting strangers, going for job interviews, being desperate in the case of being unemployed and REALLY needing to impress a potential employer. Firstly we would imagine we were really depressed, down trodden, Etc. and work on the exercises mentioned previously with our colleagues.
Next we had to change our entire posture and facial expression to do the same and note the differences to how we felt for each circumstance. Needless to say, once the happier faces and more cheerful and upright body postures returned, it was clear which postures were the winners.
I’d like to suggest that as you read this article, you do the exercises yourself, so you can truly feel the difference.
It was very interesting to do this in reality in a practical form. You might be able to imagine how it would be, but actually physically doing it, you can really tell how the concept works because you can truly feel the differences. The whole energy of the room changed in accordance with each activity and the results obtained from them. A subdued energy was felt throughout the entire room when we were acting all depressed, and a much more vibrant, tangible energy spread throughout the entire room when we expressed the happier postures.
Smiles Win Hands Down
For the next activity we were told to stand how we would if we were very sad or downhearted and notice how our bodies were positioned and how they felt. It was an easy one to imagine being that way.
It was interesting how everyone automatically placed their bodies in a slumped posture with droopy shoulders and an expression on our faces to match the emotion we were attempting to demonstrate.
From this point we had to then imagine we were feeling the same, but this time we were asked to place a smile on our faces and notice what happened. It was quite impossible to hold the sad, downhearted posture while maintaining a smile on our faces. Our bodies were unable to adapt. We found that we were not able to keep our shoulders slumped and stand in the way that we had been previously.
Smiles Drag Muscles Up It Would Seem
The speaker explained that it was because our bodies can’t do it, it is a physiological impossibility. He was right. It was almost like the curving upwards of our smiles made the muscle of our shoulders curl upwards too. This was an excellent experience to go through and one to remember when ever you are feeling blue. Why not try it right now?
A Supernatural Experience
I must admit that I had been forgetting about this little trick until it was driven home to me again while watching, believe it or not, an episode of Supernatural. For all those fans out there you will probably remember the episode. It was during the season where the Leviathans were on the loose and Frank, the hunter that Bobby knew, was helping Dean Winchester locate them. At a query from Dean, Frank informed him that to get through the horrible times they faced on a daily basis, you can either quit if you are finding it too hard, or you do it with a smile on your face and just keep going.
What struck me most about this episode was that the character Dean was having a hard time dealing with the things that life dished out to them and I found that I could relate to those kinds of thoughts. Other caregivers can most likely relate to this also. At the end of the episode, see the picture above, Dean has just had a really bad day and suffered the loss of a friend. You see him driving his car and struggling to smile. Eventually he gets it but it is a real strain for him to get that smile on his face. Much like you or I might struggle too. But the moral of the story is that he does it and it ends up helping him get through this hurdle.
Driving Miss Crazy
I want to share with you an experience I had while driving my own car. I was really angry. I had just come from dealing with a bad situation with my mentally ill daughter and had to drive down to my mother’s to take her to an appointment. I was feeling just a little crazy. I was SO angry and frustrated and in tears due to this situation that I was having trouble seeing and focusing on the road ahead. I felt quite desperate to get away from my life and leave it all behind, but I knew that was not possible. My mum needed me right now and my daughter, whether she realises it or not, or appreciates it or not, needs me. My granddaughter needs me to be able to keep it together.
I Turned My Mood Around By Smiling
It was funny that I just happened to be driving, like Dean. I suddenly remembered the episode, and then the training I had received in smiling. So I decided what a great opportunity to test the theory out and see if it would maintain my bad feelings or bring a happier state of mind if I could just bring myself to smile.
Well, I am happy to say I succeeded in changing my mood for the better. I forced that smile on to my face and kept it there until I had driven all the way to my mother’s. The change in my feelings by the time I reached my destination was amazing. I was no longer angry, sad, depressed or desperate to get away. I was calm and happy and had no more trouble for the rest of the day.
Just Do It! Smile!
So in light of this, I urge you to try this yourself. You can do it anywhere, anytime and anyway you want to. You will be pleasantly surprised at how simple this exercise is and how it works to change your whole physiology into one of a more happy, vibrant being.
Don’t stay in darkness, let the sun shine again. You will feel it’s warmth and energy and be uplifted higher than before. Just do it! I promise you won’t regret this. The very next time you catch yourself feeling crappy or your mood has gone down the big dipper and stopped at the bottom, just do this. SMILE, SMILE, SMILE.
Thank you for reading.
I would love to hear any stories you have of how you combat the blues if you would leave them in the comments below. I am here to help as many people as I can but I can’t think of everything. So if you know other ways we can help each other, please share them in the comments below. Or share an experience you had when you tried this adjustment.
Depression Image courtesy of Tony Fischer under the following license (no changes were made to the image)
Jensen Ackles Picture was taken from my own media
Other images from a free source