Do you feel that your emotions largely dictate how you think and act? If yes, it’s time to change your mind. According to psychologist William James, they go hand in hand and can most certainly impact each other. It’s true that we can’t directly influence what emotion we experience at a given moment, however, we can influence it in an indirect manner — through our thoughts and actions.
A great way to feel happier instantly is to act happier. (Something that I just implemented today impromptu and it did make my morning much better right away.) If you’re feeling sad, low, or dejected due to some reason, just curve the corners of your lips and have a big grin on your face. Maybe start whistling a favorite tune of yours and break into some dance moves. Or you can also try Mel Robbins’ High 5 Habit early in the morning (It has definitely been a great addition to my morning routine lately as it instantly uplifts my mood.) The bottom line is to start changing your physiology and psychology immediately and as you start getting more upbeat and cheerful, you’ll find it impossible to be blue and grumpy.
Keep in mind you don’t need to necessarily act happy on the outside; an alternative (and synergistic) way to feel happier is simply to think happier thoughts. As Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his private journal: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”
Simply thinking happy thoughts will increase your chances to feel happier. Therefore, stop mulling over the negative issues of your life, and focus only on the positives. Of course, be intentional and practice rational optimism, not the kind that’s naive and blind, as you go ahead with this personal change.
In his book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie gives the example of a woman who had to move to the Mojave desert because her husband’s army training camp was there. At first, she hated this change. It was scorching hot most of the time, there were only non-English-speaking Mexicans and Indians around, and everything she touched had traces of sand on it. She found herself getting frustrated and miserable day by day. But then her father advised her to focus on the positives and so she did. Soon, she began to love the desert — the Joshua trees, the sunsets, and the natives to name a few.
So, the next time you feel gloomy and sad, try your best to think and act happy — who knows you might just succeed. And even if you don’t, at least you’ll bring your thoughts into neutral territory and distance them away from the negative issue you’re facing at hand.