If you’re happy you’ll smile, if you smile you’ll be happy.
We’ve been looking at our body language and words that we use all wrong. Negative body language and unpleasant feelings like anger, being annoyed, frustrated or sad aren’t always the results of a bad mood or situation. Sometimes, they are the cause of one.
I often fall victim to this when I am tired. I just recently went on an overnight school camp where I felt like I didn’t sleep at all. When it came to Monday morning, I usually get up at 5.40am but all day Sunday I was telling myself how tired I was and how horrible it will be getting up for work the next morning. So no surprises when I woke up on Monday morning feeling tired. I had talked myself into feeling it, when in actual reality, if I checked in with myself properly, I actually wasn’t the blobbering mess I predicted myself to be. I could have easily gotten up at my normal time instead of convincing myself I was tired (and then to lay awake until I got up and hour later, not feeling any less tired than I hoped for). I would have felt much better if I told myself I was full of energy, because those words would eventually sink in and I would begin to feel that way, too.
That is why I can’t stand the word ‘boring’. If you say you are bored, guess what? That is what you will be. Your words become your reality.
Science proves that we can fake it to feel amaze
Research shows that even when you fake a smile, you respond in more positive ways compared to someone who has a neutral or negative facial expression. So I wanted to show my students this to get them to realize how their facial expressions and body language affects their mood.
I got three of them put a pencil horizontally in their mouths to simulate a smile. Another three were asked to frown. I then told a very funny joke and the students who were faking a smile reported back to have a much more positive reaction than the other students who were frowning.
They didn’t know what the experiment was about until we discussed it afterwards.
The point is, even if you are faking a smile, you will be happier and respond more positively towards others. If you are frowning, it decreases your mood. So even if you’re not happy about something, smile anyway! And pay attention to your body language, because even if you’re not aware of it, if you frown or slouch, this can make you feel flat and sad.
The words that you use, the way that you stand and the look on your face will often determine how you feel. It’s not always the other way around.
This is the reason why I’m so obsessed with affirmations. An affirmation is a positive saying that you can have on repeat in your head. It works for a number of reasons. Numero uno: it can replace all the negative jargon going on inside your head. It’s not practical to try and stop your negative thoughts altogether, so it’s helpful to just replace them, then there is no room for the negative ones anymore! Number 2: you are telling yourself how you want to feel, and hopefully it is clear to you now that the words you use become your reality. Because science says so, and so do I.
So how do you want to feel? Tell yourself you are feeling that way already! You will see some amazing changes #fakeittilyoumakeit.
Let me give you an example. Getting dressed for a party may seem like a simple thing, but it can be difficult if the voice in your head is telling you ‘I have nothing to wear’. A positive affirmation here can help. ‘I have nothing to wear’ my seem true, but listening to that voice is neither going to help you find something to wear, or make you feel good in anything that you try on. So instead, we can think of a positive affirmation like ‘I have enough’, ‘I dress myself lovingly’, or ‘I have beautiful clothes’. You may not believe it at first, but if you put it on repeat in your mind you will notice some amazing changes in how you feel when you actually roll into the party looking fab in something you have creatively put together.
My favourite ‘fake it til you make it’ example is the one I shared in ‘how to feel good about every test that you take‘. I talk about how pretending you are a professor and know all the answers before going into a test is an actual proven strategy to improve your marks. How amazing!
Think of a time when you felt tired and told yourself you didn’t want to go to school. What could you say to yourself instead to help yourself feel better?
Can you think of a time where you did not feel confident? What is a possible affirmation you could tell yourself to fake feelings of confidence until you begin to believe them?