If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a smile is worth a million. The power of a smile is incredible. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, the simple act of lifting the corners of your mouth can help you lift your entire spirit and find something worth smiling about. Some of the greatest self-help advice out there comes from those who advocate “fake it until you make it.” This is especially true when it comes to positive thinking, and faking a smile goes a long way toward producing the genuine thing. You may end up laughing at yourself merely because you know you have nothing to smile about.
Another great thing about smiles- they’re highly contagious. A smile spreads faster than a cold in a daycare. Most people can’t help smiling back when someone casts a happy expression their way. This is a simple and exciting theory that you can test out for yourself. Go to any public place and start smiling at random people, then keep track of how many smile back (even suspicious smirking counts!). You’ll likely find that 9 out of 10 of your targets return your joyful expression to some small degree, and you’ve probably just made their day a little brighter, too.
Learning to smile on demand is an important step in developing a permanently positive mindset. One good technique for summoning smiles is to choose a happy memory that never fails to fill you with good feelings. Keep this memory at the front of your mental catalogue, and access it whenever you feel a case of the blues coming on. It may not solve your problems, but it will at least make you smile- which in turn helps you relax and take an objective look at your situation. Smiling often creates a mental cue for the foundation of positive thinking and helps prime the pumps of happiness.
You should also spend a little time in front of the mirror observing your own expressions. At first this practice may seem uncomfortable or downright silly, but smiling at your own reflection has a positive effect on your psyche. You can even practice different smile variations: the amused smirk; the close-lipped leg-pulling smile; the toothy grin; the laugh-out-loud open-mouthed smile. Think of it as an Olympic event…it’s your personal Smile Marathon, and you’ll win the gold every time!