It’s all about happiness and smiling
Every Tuesday evening I go to a singing group and a woman in that group looks incredibly happy and smiles a lot. While I was watching her this week a couple of questions popped into my mind.
Does she smile a lot because she is happy?
Is she happy because she smiles a lot?
Some of you may remember an article I wrote some time ago which reported research on facial expressions. Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen were practising facial expressions, sadness, anger, happiness, etc., to work out what muscles were involved. They found that spending a lot of time with a particular expression made them feel the way that way. Further research backed this up with the conclusion that smiling makes you feel good, scowling makes you feel bad tempered and so on.
Two weeks ago I moved house and about 24 hours after moving in to our lovely new home I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the mountain of jobs facing me. I began to feel exhausted and very down. But then I faced up to the fact that these feelings stemmed from the way I was thinking. I have always been very good at telling other people what to do and now I had to do the same to myself. I had to change the way I was thinking.
"The way I think influences the way I feel" is a phrase that I use a lot and it has appeared in this newsletter many times. Instead of thinking of all the many jobs that needed doing and seeing them as a mountain, I saw them as one at a time and all perfectly manageable.
Next I started to think of all the good things in my life and as I thought of each one I smiled. And, as there are so many good things in my life I found myself smiling and smiling and smiling.
This self-therapy took place when I woke up in the middle of the night. I then went back to sleep and woke up feeling really great, very happy and bursting with energy.
I think perhaps that woman at my singing group who looks happy all the time does so because she has learnt to smile a lot.