It seems like I’m always trying new tricks to get myself in a better mood. I’ve made it no secret that I struggle daily with my emotional wellbeing, and I’ll try anything I can do to spark a more positive outlook.
A few days ago, I stumbled across something that immediately put me in a better mood. I’ve spent the last couple of days testing my theory to make sure I wasn’t mistaken.
All I have to do to get in a better mood is smile.
Now I’m not talking about any old smile — it must be genuine, and for me, it has to be the kind of smile that lights up my face and brightens my eyes.
The thing is: until recently, I rarely smiled at all. So, for me to produce the kind of smile I need to lighten my mood, I really have to work for it.
This morning I was depressed and unmotivated because of everything happening with the Medium Partner Program. You know the story: everybody seems to be making half of what they made last month with far more engagement. Well, it’s the same for me. I was driving down the road, and I stopped and looked at myself in the rearview mirror and blasted the most angelic smile I could muster.
I even took a picture:
After a smile like that, how could I be in a bad mood? And the mood has stayed with me for the past few hours. I’m in a good enough mood that I’m finishing this essay and getting ready to write a post for my blog.
This is amazing!
Did you know that smiling immediately puts you in a better mood? You really should’ve told me because I would have tried it long ago.
Now I’m smiling all the time. I’m smiling right now as I write this and I am in the best mood ever!
I guess I’m not the only one who knows about this because I found this on NBCnews.com:
“Science has shown that the mere act of smiling can lift your mood, lower stress, boost your immune system and possibly even prolong your life.”
And on Scientific American:
“This February psychologists at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people whose ability to frown is compromised by cosmetic botox injections are happier, on average, than people who can frown.”
Damn. Where can I get me some of that delicious Botox?
I know I’m on the right track with this secret of mine. (I guess I should stop calling it a secret because it seems as if everyone knows about it except for me. Maybe I should read the news more often?)
I’m still not 100% comfortable with my smile, but I think the more I do it, the more I will become accustomed to smiling for the sheer joy of it. I have to make it easy for myself to smile. It’s sad that even when I should have smiled — like when my wife says something funny — I didn’t because I was a miserable a-hole.
I think of all the laughter and joy I missed in my life because I didn’t allow myself to feel happy. I didn’t allow myself even when I should have. I’ve let all of the kids wonder why I didn’t seem happy when I spent time with them. I’ve let my life go by without stopping to smile.
Well, that’s going to stop right now!
I am going to smile all the time! I am going to allow myself to feel happy and show the people I love that I enjoy being in their company! I am going to laugh at all the jokes and smile and wave at all the children who stare at me on the street because I’m a huge, bearded dude.
Instead of being “that guy” — you know, the one who looks so serious all the time — I am going to be jolly!
I know I can’t smile 100% of the time, but I can try. Instead of trying to be cool and aloof, I am going to be engaging and kind. I am no longer going to be the “mean-looking” guy.
I’ve changed my life in so many ways over the past years, and this seems like it is a good next step for me. I feel like I’ve been changed forever by figuring out that all it takes to improve my mood is to smile.
Watch me work!
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