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Monday, August 10, 2009

Smile! 30 Seconds to a Positive Outlook

Smile to a Better Today

One of the most important aspects of having a powerful, productive day is first generating that positive attitude that will carry you through your tasks and experiences.

How can you do that in 30 seconds? It's a basic psychological trick.

Action --> Emotion

If you're groggy, apathetic, or downright negative first thing in the morning, you can turn that right around. Because actions can change your emotional state. Why do you think that actors and actresses who act as lovers so often end up as lovers in real life?

Action --> Emotion

So here's your trick: Stand in front of the mirror and smile. Hard. And by hard I mean contort your face into the most exaggerated smile you can contrive. And hold it for 30 seconds. You may begin laughing. That's fine. Don't fight it.

And when you're done, your outlook on the day should be much brighter.

Why does it work?

Your brain has a very strong link already built in concerning smiling and the neurochemistry associated with it. Like Pavlov's dog salivating to the bell, the simple activation of the smiling muscles elicits the activation of some of those chemicals that - under normal circumstances - trigger the smile. The psychological component is an internal justification for smiling; your brain says: I smile when I'm happy, so if I'm smiling, I must be happy. And the final piece is the mirror. You recognize yourself in the mirror, smiling, and reinforce the psychological component of the justification loop.

Action --> Emotion

If it didn't work well enough, do it longer. If you need a refresher, do it often. But be warned: it works negatively for frowning. And if you're dead set on being melancholic, it probably won't do much good.

So smile in the mirror every morning, smile at people all day, and keep that positive attitude and drive. You'd be amazed how it can change your outlook.

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