“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh, spiritual leader, writer and peace activist.
Boost Your Mood By Smiling
Do you smile when you’re happy… or become happy when you smile? The answer is actually both!
In 2019, a team of psychologists looked at 138 different studies on facial expressions and emotions. They found that the link goes both ways.
Scowling makes you angrier. Frowning makes you sadder. And smiling makes you happier.
To a degree, anyway. It doesn’t mean you can “smile your way to happiness”, say the researchers. But it’s certainly worth a try to get a little boost in mood or engage a more positive mindset.
Forcing a smile has even been shown to trigger brain chemicals related to positivity. “It stimulates the amygdala, which releases neurotransmitters to encourage an emotionally positive state,” says the author of another study from 2020.
Why not try actively smiling more today and seeing how it makes you feel?
Try a Mega Day
Writing for Inc, Dr. Nate Klemp, a best-selling author and entrepreneur, says there’s nothing like a “mega day” to take your productivity to the next level.
What is it? Rather than carve out smaller blocks of time to focus on key tasks, you put aside an entire day to just get stuck in – no interruptions.
Why it works: It allows you to do highly focused work; to get into flow and avoid distractions.
“Starting at 7am and ending at 7pm on each of these days, I didn’t answer phone calls, return emails, or even open my inbox,” says Dr. Klemp. “I gave myself permission to dive head-first into the highest priority creative and productive tasks.”
Klemp says the results of these mega days are “astonishing”.
How to do it? Block off your days in advance, make sure your family and coworkers have you covered, and shut down all distractions. Then, get to work!
Read more here, try it out, and let us know how you go!
Lee Daniels, Director & Screenwriter
The director of Precious and The United States vs. Billie Holiday says his routine has changed during the pandemic. These days he:
- Prays (“I didn’t do that before. As this pandemic has grown, I’ve found myself praying longer.”) and meditates
- Goes for a hike through Franklin Canyon Park, followed by a brief workout
- Has an infrared sauna
- Showers and starts work
Why it works:
- Prayer and meditation share some benefits, such as calming the nervous system and making you less reactive to stress.
- Hiking is brilliant because it combines exercise with time in nature.
- Infrared saunas use lamps to warm your body directly. Though more research is needed, they’ve been shown to help with joint pain and a variety of other chronic conditions.
Daniels also says he does intermittent fasting instead of having breakfast.
“I put on 17 pounds at the beginning of the pandemic, so I had to drop it all. If you’d asked me at the beginning, I would have said pancakes and bacon. [Now] I don’t eat until 2 or 3 in the afternoon.”
Have you tried intermittent fasting? The benefits are many, according to research (however, it may not be for everyone, so do consult your doctor). How did you find it? Did it work for you?