Sadness can feel hopeless but I want to let you know that it’s not & you’re not.
I can’t take complete credit for this technique. It was told to me by a Lyft driver of all people. But nuggets of motivation can come from anywhere at any place and any time. I’ve tried it and it works.
Okay, I want to warn you, this sounds corny, I know, and too simple to be true. But a way to combat sadness is to smile. I know people often say this but stick with me here because there’s a special way to do it, if you want it to actually work.
You must hold that smile for one minute straight: If you don’t hold it for an entire minute then you have to start over again until you do. Think of it as a little challenge, like all those viral ones on the internet. We’ll call it the smile more challenge. I suggest getting out your timer on your phone for and look at yourself in the mirror or try this with a friend. When you are looking at yourself it will amplify the effects of your smile. If you dare to try this with a friend, you will likely be laughing within seconds.
Now, I don’t claim for this to be the end all cure to depression or solve the core of the issue. Depression is very serious & complex and you should seek professional help. This method is intended to be a quick exercise that to help train your brain to be in a better state of mind. And yes there is research to back this up. While, it may be hard to control our minds, it is much easier to control our muscles (like the ones in our face to smile). It’s called Facial Feedback.
According to Psychology Today, “Facial Feedback works because the brain senses the flexion of certain facial muscles (like the zygomatic major, which is required to smile) and interprets it as “Oh I must be happy about something.” Similarly, if that muscle isn’t flexed then your brain thinks, “Oh, I must not be happy”.”
A study in the late 1980s was done demonstrates the effectiveness of smiling, “Researchers did not want to influence the results by telling subjects that the study was about emotion, so they devised an ingenious way to get the subjects to flex certain muscles of their face without knowing why. They had subjects hold a pencil in one of three ways. The first group held the pencil widthwise between their teeth, forcing a smile. The second group held the pencil in their lips lengthwise, which means they couldn’t smile, and were actually making kind of a frown. The control group held the pencil in their hand. Then the subjects looked at some cartoons, and rated how funny they were. The “smile” group gave the cartoons much higher “funny” ratings than the “frown” group, while the control group was somewhere in the middle.” [Source]
Moving our facial muscles into a smile is proven to help make us more happy. And thus why this smiling for one minute technique really works!
I hope that you add this to your routine for wellness. Give it a try, what do you have to lose? If you aren’t feeling better at the end, do it again! Smiling is free. We can do it anywhere at any time and any place.
You have no excuses, I know you have one minute! So Smile! 🙂