Smile right now! Regardless of what is going on in your life I want you to smile. Smile big. Smile goofy. Smile a smile that spreads from your lips to your entire face and eyes, even your neck, shoulders, and scalp. Just smile!
Let me talk to you about choices for a moment. Each moment we have a choice about how we feel. Most often, we are caught up in the events of the moment, and forget we have that choice. Whenever we remember, however, we can shift gears with a simple physical action: a smile.
Our emotional state at any given moment is a result of our brain’s chemistry. If you’ll forgive the term, a “heady” combination of hormones and neural chemicals result in the particular ‘flavor’ of our brain soup. Our brain spices are different when angry than when sad, or ecstatic. Based on this idea that each emotion creates, or results (causation is not an issue in this article) in a particular chemical balance in our brains, it is pretty obvious that we can not entertain two opposing emotions at the same time. Just as your stove top chowder can’t be ‘too salty’ and ‘not salty enough’ at the same time, so your brain can’t be chemically spiced as ‘sad’ and ‘happy’ at the same time.
So…in those moments of lucidity when you become aware of who controls your brain’s spice cabinet, here is what I suggest—always season your brain, and your day, with a smile.
Let me suggest an experiment you can do right now. Just as you are sitting there now and reading this: Recall a less than glorious experience. As you recall this experience, notice how your brain and body begin to feel correspondingly poorly. Don’t let yourself feel too bad. Feel just bad enough to notice a change in your brain soup.
As soon as you notice a poor feeling, smile. Stop smiling. Smile bigger. Stop smiling. Smile even bigger. Stop smiling. Smile your biggest goofiest smile. Now, try to stop smiling. Hard to stop smiling, isn’t it?
Smiles seem to be one of those physical postures or actions that are ‘hard-wired’ to a particular emotional state. You simply can not feel sad while smiling. Try it.
Smiling is only one easy physical gesture that is hard-wired to an emotional state. Frowns are as well, but why fiddle around with negative states? Instead, let us consider some other posture or activities that are naturally connected to positive, or enjoyable emotional states.
Here is a good one…try feeling depressed while standing up straight. Hold your head high, breath high into your chest, and try to feel depressed or sad. Most people can not do it. Knowledge of such postural effects on emotions is deeply engrained into our language. Think of such phrases as "Hold your head high” or “chin up” as encouraging phrases offered to suffering friends.
Many people can’t feel bad when simply looking up with their eyes. Try it. Try to recall a sad or depressing thought while aiming your eyes high.
Use your body to flavor your ‘brain soup’. You’ll like the positive flavor.
Richard Lefever has a practice for Hypnotherapy Portland. For Hypnotherapy Oregon - give him a call today (877-296-6207)!