The emotional part of your brain sends signals to your facial muscles, so that your expression can reflect the way you feel. This process can also work in another way, so that the expression on your face stimulates an emotional response in your brain. Try crossing your brow and glaring… didn’t you feel angry for just that second? Depression in the mind reflects facial expressions of sadness, or most often, a blank or apathetic look. Even if you are not feeling happy in this moment, generating a smile on your face will cause a happier emotional response in the brain.
I urge you to take a few minutes now, and sit quietly with your eyes closed. Relax, and form a half-smile on your face. You don’t have to grin wildly and force the smile, simply turn up the corners of your mouth. Feel that smile as it radiates through your face. Drop your shoulders, and imagine the effects of the smile travelling through your mind and body. Feel that smile as a sort of calm heat, and focus the warm energy on the parts of your body that might be feeling pain or stress.
As you breathe in, think of the word, “calm.” As you breathe out, hold onto the word, “smile” and ensure that your mouth is continually, yet softly, smiling. Allow yourself to feel calm, serene, a peaceful. Focus on your smile and the feelings it gives you, and try to keep the mind quiet.
The smile is like a small dose of happiness for your brain, and creates an inner calm and contentment. The smile is also contagious, and if you are reflecting positivity toward others, they will reciprocate. Try this over the next few days. After that, you can try to carry the half smile with you throughout your day.