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Fake it Till You Make It: How Smiling Can Help Overcome Stress and Sadness

Smiling and appearing cheerful when grappling with an issue might seem like a daunting task. It's even challenging to visualize mimicking happiness or greeting the world with a smile when you're far from feeling joyful.

Nevertheless, the act of smiling and pretending to be happy can indeed lift your spirits.

The phrase “Fake it until you make it” is a popular adage that can be applied to your emotional state. If you're feeling low, feign happiness until it becomes real. Adopting an outward display of happiness and wearing a smile can help alleviate sadness or manage daily irritations.

The Advantages of Pretending to Feel Happy

Have you ever felt despondent and had someone attempt to raise your spirits? You probably wish they'd leave you alone. After all, they seem ignorant of your life's complexities, right? However, before you snap at them, try to smile and act as though everything will eventually be alright.

By just smiling, you can fool your body into thinking you're happy. Smiling stimulates your body to produce more dopamine, the hormone associated with happiness. Serotonin, another hormone that helps decrease stress, also increases when you're happy. Merely smiling can convince your body that something amusing is happening.

Those who are often happy typically have lower stress levels. Stress can negatively impact your overall health. In stressful situations, your heart rate might spike, but a simple smile can counteract that, lowering your heart rate and reducing stress levels.

Smile Workouts

Surprisingly, some individuals start their day by spending a few minutes smiling. It's part of their daily routine. To start their day positively, some people smile while others hit the gym. Some even perform this exercise with their partners. If you're single or uncomfortable smiling at someone, try smiling at your reflection in the mirror.

Professionals in certain fields also use smiling exercises. For example, sales call center employees or dispatchers often have to deal with irate or unpleasant individuals on the other end of the line. These professionals sometimes take a quick smiling break every hour or so to rejuvenate their body and mind, alleviate work-related stress, and prevent burnout. In high-stress call centers, some even don a clown nose to lighten the mood during challenging customer interactions.

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Can Pretending to Feel Happy Be Detrimental?

Some argue that those who pretend to be happy during difficult times are not confronting their real problems. They believe that by pretending, individuals avoid dealing directly with their issues. If these problems are not addressed, they could lead to increased depression, making it even harder to feign happiness. However, acting happy and smiling is not a universal solution; if issues are continually ignored, it merely delays the inevitable.

So, does pretending to be happy worsen the situation? No, it helps you navigate through the moment without breaking down. It stimulates the production of positive hormones, enabling you to view the situation objectively when you're prepared to tackle it, rather than focusing on the negatives. Positive thoughts are challenging to muster when you're in a gloomy mood.

Embrace Happiness

Sounds easy, doesn't it? In reality, it is! Once you master the art of smiling amidst adversity, you become more resilient. It helps you comprehend the situation better. It enhances your relationships and helps you discover joy in unexpected places. It's akin to finding the good in everything or searching for the silver lining.

The key is to confront the obstacles hindering your happiness and not to neglect them for too long.

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