OK, I’m going to confess. I was seduced by a clever bit of click bait titled: Neuroscience Says Doing This 1 Thing Makes You Just as Happy as Eating 2,000 Chocolate Bars.
2000 chocolate bars! I do love chocolate, especially very dark chocolate. But I hesitated because I wasn’t sure I wanted 2000. That would easily be about a 5 year supply and the thought of eating them all at the same time (you can see how my mind works) caused me to hesitate. There were weight gain and stomach pain possibilities to consider.
But then, I read the subtitle: “It also gives you the same neurological boost as receiving $25,000”
And that’s what pushed me over the click threshold. And in fact it’s a pretty interesting and informative article if you’d like to read it yourself.
If you don’t, here’s what that one thing to do is, in case your haven’t already guessed: Smile.
That’s it, just smile. As the article explains: “Smiling, as it turns out, has truly remarkable effects. First, doing it actually makes you feel good even if you’re not feeling good in the moment.”
Now smiling doesn’t always come naturally to me, maybe because my parents weren’t inclined to smile a lot. Maybe because I have some morose tendencies. Who knows.
But one thing I do know from my Alexander Technique experience: smiling helps release tension throughout my body. And as the late Alexander Technique teacher Marjorie Barstow used to say: “You always move more easily with a smile”
There are a lot of ways to smile, of course, and some can be a bit forced. They may only get you the benefits of receiving 1000 chocolate bars, or maybe just $10,000.
I believe the most effective smile is one that springs effortlessly from within, perhaps the kind you had when you first saw the picture above. But also by using a simple Alexander Technique direction* such as “I’m free to smile” or “I’m my head is free” delivered to yourself with no effort or expectation.
Give it a try and see what happens!
I’d love to hear your experiences, either by commenting below or on Facebook.
*You can learn more about Alexander Technique directions here.
Not surprisingly, country music singers are real good at smiling while singing sad songs. Here’s one of my favorite examples – psychic death accompanied by a killer smile: