Have you ever been told to 'smile and you'll feel better'?
It may seem difficult, but scientific research does back up that smiling can make you feel happier and more positive in your day-to-day life.
You can change your mood simply by making choices to act happier.
If you're facing depression or serious mental health issues, these tips can help put you on the path to recovery and working with a doctor can help provide the best combination of help to get you feeling better permanently.
What You Do Determines Your Mood
Over the past years, scientists researched how our actions affect our overall state of mental health. People who watch the news, engage in gossip, and look for the worst in people and situations tend to develop depression and anxiety disorders much faster than those who do the opposite.
Overall, positive people tend to be more positive and healthier.
These experiments were done everywhere, from terminal hospital situations to everyday life. And the results were the same: less stress, less pain, less depression.
So, let's look at what the scientists found and a couple of easy ways to start putting more positivity in your life.
Smile And Feel Happier
Smiling isn't just your muscles, it involves a series of complex hormones such as endorphins and dopamine that make you feel better.
Scientists aren't sure why smiling triggers this release of feel-good emotions, but they can't deny it works. So, get rid of that resting bitch face by actively smiling. Of course, it does take a little work to practice smiling, but, to feel a little bit more at peace, it's worth it.
Gratitude & Thanking People
The practice of gratitude is ubiquitous across all religions. Being thankful for what you have allows you to appreciate what you have and reduces envy and desire for more.
Gratitude can take any form – thanking people when they do something for you no matter how small, a gratitude journal, gratitude meditation or prayer, waking up in the morning and being thankful for a new day, or going to sleep thankful you made it through the day.
Many people start with a gratitude journal, reviewing their thoughts and having a physical reminder to do the activities.
Expose Yourself To Humor
A fascinating study of terminal hospital patients showed humor and laughter helped reduce the need for pain medication and depression.
It was a simple as watching comedy movies or listening to stand-up jokes. The laughter and smiling help trigger the release of feel-good hormones.
Doctors and nurses even know more positive and happy patients tend to require less medication and get out of the hospital faster.
Cut Back On Sugar
That same dopamine triggered by smiling can also be triggered by sugar. But, using sugar makes you dependent and addicted to an outside source for that rush, and that can hurt you in the long run.
Eating excessive sugar triggers insulin, which triggers dopamine. But, eating all that sugar also adds to your waistline and causes diabetes, which can hurt self-esteem and self-confidence.
Cutting back on your sugar consumption can be challenging, and it might not feel good right at first, but you will be healthier and happier in the long run.
Throughout most of the world, the first prescription for depression is exercise. For low to moderate depression, exercise works as good or better than all of the medications on the market.
Exercises stimulate dopamine and endorphin production, which helps move you to a more positive mindset. In addition, the physical changes exercise provides within your body supports health and happiness.
Even getting out and walking for a few minutes a day will help increase your positivity.
Avoid The News
Unfortunately, we live in a world that supports newsertainment rather than actual journalistic reporting and news. All of the news shows, even the small local ones, depend on advertisers, and for the station to make money, people have to see those advertisements. That means headlines to draw you in to watch the show get bigger, bolder, and scarier.
You get a little adrenaline rush from seeing scary news. But, watching these bold stories and grandiose storytelling triggers more fear and anxiety in the long run. This is especially true on social media.
If you wish to keep up with current events, set aside a dedicated time to review the material, read stories a day or two old, and avoid videos.
Find At Least One Good Thing In Every Situation
Positive people see the good in all situations.
As you go through your day, say one good thing about what you are doing.
For example, if you're going grocery shopping, be thankful for access to all the different kinds of food.
This gets tougher in more dire situations, such as a car accident, a death, or significant life change. But, when you start looking for the good in minor cases, these more significant situations become easier.
Being positive is a choice, one you could do daily by taking just one of these activities and practicing it regularly. Although they sound silly and almost inconsequential, they can make a massive impact on your life and your happiness.