I’ve posted in the past about GREAT DREAM, the acronym denoting the scientifically proven “10 Keys to Happier Living” found on website Action For Happiness. Key word: Action. You can become happier by doing. You can do yourself happy.
As psychology professor Ben C. Fletcher states in his post “Happiness Is Not a Feeling—It Is Doing” (Psychology Today), “…the ‘feeling’ of happiness comes from ‘doing’. That means doing more of the things known to make people feel happy. It means training yourself to be happy with new behaviours, with changes in what you do.” Do yourself happy.
Furthermore, did you know it’s helpful just to do things that make it look as though we’re happy even if we’re not?
Example. As Melissa Dahl reported just this week on website Science of Us, “…there is some new evidence that you can walk yourself right out of a crappy mood: Walk like a happy person and you’ll actually feel happier, says a study published online in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry.”
She adds that there’s a good body of similar evidence preceding this. Previous “embodiment” studies, for example, have shown mood improvement based on posture changes and purposeful smiling:
Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy found that if you stand like a powerful person would, with your chest puffed out and your hands on your hips, you’ll feel more powerful; she calls this ‘power posing’ and has hinted at preliminary research that suggests this even works in your sleep. Likewise, a famous study in the 1980s showed that if you hold a pen between your lips, it activates the muscles you use to smile, which seems to actually put you in a better mood, as if you were smiling spontaneously. My high school swim coach used to tell us to fake it till you feel it; science as of late seems to be suggesting that she had a point.
That forced-smile research result, by the way, has been named “The Facial Feedback Hypothesis.”
Remember when attorney John Cage (Peter MacNicol) used a form of “smile therapy” on dramedy Ally McBeal (1997-2002)? The idea was to get out of his bad mood by making himself smile. (He actually had a smile therapist.)
Try it. Have trouble with the idea of making yourself smile? Watch this new video for Sia’s cute update of the song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” from the Annie movie remake coming later this year. In a form of “smile therapy,” star Quvenzhané Wallis and some other kids work on getting New Yorkers to do the deed. (Smile, that is.)